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Actors Who Were There.....In Real Life Then In Movies.

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Anthony Quayle served as a British SOE Agent in Albania and was part of a large rescue mission to get some American Nurses and Aircrew out. That mission also included Sterling Hayden. Quayle went behind the lines again in "The Guns of Navarone" and "Lawrence of Arabia" Scott

Yes, and come to think of it, he also played a German Abwehr Man in he 1966 Operation Crossbow, who was sent to England to infiltrate MI5 or SOE or whatever, under the false English name or Mr Bamford, and successful he was, if one remembers, after apparently attending several courses, he parachutes into France on a "Mission" little did the English know he was a Spy :lol: He shows up back in Germany, and in a very chance encounter, see's a fellow Spy from MI5/SOE he trained with, a Free Dutch Sailor seconded to MI5/SOE, the one played by Tom Courtenay and arrests him and with other SS and Gestapo men interrogate him on his mission :o







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Ernie Borgnine ( McHales Navy)


Borgnine joined the United States Navy in October 1935, after graduation from high school.[9] He served aboard the destroyer/minesweeper USS Lamberton (DD-119; AG-21 and DMS-2)[10] and was honorably discharged from the Navy in October 1941.[11] In January 1942, he reenlisted in the Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor. During World War II, he patrolled the Atlantic Coast on an antisubmarine warfare ship, the USS Sylph (PY-12).[12] In September 1945, he was honorably discharged from the Navy. He served a total of almost ten years in the Navy and obtained the grade of gunner's mate 1st class. His military awards include the Navy Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, American Campaign Medal with ​316" bronze star, and the World War II Victory Medal.[11]

In 1997, Borgnine received the United States Navy Memorial, Lone Sailor Award.[13]

On December 7, 2000, Borgnine was named the Veterans Foundation's Veteran of the Year.

In October 2004, Borgnine received the honorary title of chief petty officer from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Terry D. Scott. The ceremony for Borgnine's naval advancement was held at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. He received the special honor for his naval service and support of the Navy and navy families worldwide.[14][15]

In 2007, he received the California Commendation Medal.[16][17]


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Jason Robards


Naval service in World War II

Following the completion of recruit training and radio school, Robards was assigned to the heavy cruiser USS Northampton in 1941 as a radioman 3rd class. On December 7, 1941, Northampton was at sea in the Pacific Ocean about 100 miles (160 km) off Hawaii. Contrary to some stories, he did not see the devastation of the Japanese attack on Hawaii until Northampton returned to Pearl Harbor two days later.[5]Northampton was later directed into the Guadalcanal campaign in World War II's Pacific theater, where she participated in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands.

During the Battle of Tassafaronga in the waters north of Guadalcanal on the night of November 30, 1942, Northampton was sunk by hits from two Japanese torpedoes. Robards found himself treading water until near daybreak, when he was rescued by an American destroyer. For her service in the war, Northampton was awarded six battle stars.

Two years later, in November 1944, Robards was radioman aboard the light cruiser USS Nashville, the flagship for the invasion of Mindoro in the northern Philippines. On December 13, she was struck by a kamikaze aircraft off Negros Island in the Philippines. The aircraft hit one of the port five-inch gun mounts, while the plane's two bombs set the midsection of the ship ablaze. With this damage and 223 casualties, Nashville was forced to return to Pearl Harbor and then to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, for repairs.

Robards served honorably during the war, but was not a recipient of the U.S. Navy Cross for bravery,[6] contrary to what has been reported in numerous sources. The inaccurate story derives from a 1979 column by Hy Gardner.[7]

Aboard Nashville, Robards first found a copy of Eugene O'Neill's play Strange Interlude in the ship's library.[8][9] Also while in the Navy, he first started thinking seriously about becoming an actor. He had emceed for a Navy band in Pearl Harbor, got a few laughs, and decided he liked it. His father suggested he enroll in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA) in New York City, from which he graduated in 1948.[8][10]

Robards left the Navy in 1946 as a Petty officer first class. He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal of the Navy, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic–Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.



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William Windom (Seth Hazlett from "Murder, She Wrote) was a paratrooper with Co. B, 1st Bn, 508th PIR, 82nd Airborne.


In many episodes, Windom is shown wearing a dog tag around his neck. Always wonder if it was his own real one!

After studying Window's face awhile ago, I came to the conclusion that Window would of made a fantastic casting as Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Vandervoort in The Longest Day, the similarities are there, and resembles him I think., definitely looks like him then John Wayne. But, while Windom was by 1961, an established Television actor, he did not hit the big screen yet, that would come in 1962 with his role as the prosecutor in To Kill a Mocking Bird, so I guess he wouldn't even been considered no less than even looked into. So if Windom was looked at by casting and they agreed to cast him as Vandervoort, rather than a big name, then talk about an Actor Who Was There, he may have been, we're not sure when no other information though on when he was in the unit. 1943, D-Day or after D-Day, Holland or arrived as a replacement after Holland etc, but never the less he did see action with the 82nd that certain.








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Here he is in his first major motion picture roll, as the Prosecutor in To Kill a Mockingbird. He was already well known as a T.V. actor, but this was his first film roll. Again, a good resemblance to Vandervoort.





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  • 3 weeks later...

Here's one I just found while revisiting the WIKI on GO FOR BROKE.




Lane Nakano, Nakno who played Sam, was in the 442th RCT in the war! There were more.


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George Miki as Chick the B.A.R. Man.




Akira Fukunaga as Frank.



Ken K. Okamoto as Kaz


Harry Hamada as Masami




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Now that's cool

Looking for the following:

452nd and 447th Bomb Group items

Anything 12th Armored- especially uniforms

155th Assault Helicopter Company, Camp Coryell, or Ban Me Thuot Vietnam items[/center]

WWII US Navy Uniforms from the Battle Off Samar: USS Johnston DD-557, USS Hoel DD-553, USS Samuel B. Roberts DE-413, USS Heermann DD-532, USS Dennis DE-405, USS John C. Butler DE-339, USS Raymond DE-341, USS Fanshaw Bay St. Lo, White Plains, Kalinin Bay, Kitkun Bay and Gambier Bay...


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Here's a photo of Ken K. Okamoto after the war ended, a Staff Sergeant,center seated, like his character in the movie Okamoto knew how to play the Ukulele.









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A little more on Harry Hamada who played Masami, he wrote the Regimental Fight Song.






A Photo of Hamada at Cp Shelby in the summer of 43, a little thinner, and no mustache and van dyke at this time :D



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I'm surprised that no one has yet listed one of the greatest Hollywood actors of the golden age (and incidentally, one of my favorite actors)


Humphrey Bogart - United States Navy, World War One - Captain Queeg of "The Caine Mutiny" (and Casablanca, Passage to Marseilles, Sahara, Action in the North Atlantic, The African Queen, etc.)


Bogart had grown to detest elitism, and had become quite the rebel rouser in his teens. It is commonly reported that Bogart would both smoke and drink on campus regularly, and he would eventually be expelled from his school in his senior year, allegedly for throwing his head master into a pond on campus. This action lost him his opportunity to attend any college, let alone Yale, and led Humphrey Bogart to join the US Navy in 1918.
Humphrey Bogart served on the USS Leviathan, formerly the SS Vaterland, which was a German ocean liner until it was seized and renamed by the US Navy in April of 1917. Leviathan was assigned to ferry US soldiers and German Prisoners of War to and from Europe. Aboard this ship, by most accounts, Bogart was an exemplary sailor. This was quite a distinction from how he was described as a student.



Humphrey Bogart 1919.jpg



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....and another


Robert Taylor, LT USN Naval Aviator 1943-1946 - First in Movies, then in real life


With the arrival of the war, Taylor was quick to make his contribution to the effort. As an actor, he made two memorable combat movies: Stand by for Action (1942) and the better known (and for the time, quite graphic) Bataan (1943). From 1943 to 1946, he was in the US Naval Air Corps as a lieutenant, instructing would-be pilots. He also found time to direct two flight instruction training films (1943) and other training films for the Navy. During this time, he also starred in and narrated the 1944 documentary The Fighting Lady.

LTjg Robert Taylor 001.jpg


Robert Taylor Bataan 001.jpg

The Fighting Lady 002.jpg

The Fighting Lady 003.jpg


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James Whitmore, attended Yale on a football scholarship, blew out both knees (which ended his football career) somehow joined the Marines and served in the 4th MarDiv as a Lt. He recd two SS for his actions on Saipan, ended up with amoebic dysentery, and finished his tour in Panama. He was discharged in 1946.



Whitmore appeared in military movies like Battleground; Tora!Tora!Tora! (playing Adm Bull Halsey, and had cameo performances in TV shows like Combat!, 12 O'clock High; he also starred in a raft of non military movies, the most well-known was Oklahoma. He recd an Oscar nomination for his part in Battleground.


I bring this up because there is another better known actor who had a shoulder injury which "kept" him out of the armed forces in WW2, yet is embraced for his patriotism and movie career. I mean, you blow out both knees, and still manage to enlist? I recall interviewing a veteran of the MRS who was completely blind in one eye, and enlisted from his civillian RR career. He passed the eye test by quickly covering and uncovering his good eye, w/ a sleight of hand, so to speak. I interviewd another railroader w/ poor eyesight, but a great memory, and he memorrized the eye chart while waiting in line. But I digress. A pair of SS in the Marines, or any branch, is nothing to slouch. Here is a photo of Mr. Whitmore.





Member, ASMIC.

Editor, ASMIC's The Trading Post

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Peter Ortiz, unbelievable military service...1932 French Foreign Legion, 1942 USMC, then OSS. Navy Cross (2), Purple Heart (2) and an amazing host of seemingly never ending list of decorations.

He was in numerous films after the war, including Rio Grande, Flying Leathernecks and many others.

Also, spoke ten languages.

Just blown away when I read about his service.




...and on the eighth day, God created the radial engine...

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Here is the description of one of his two Navy Crosses-


Navy Cross Citation

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Major Pierre (Peter) J. Ortiz (MCSN: 0-12779), United States Marine Corps Reserve, for extraordinary heroism while attached to the United States Naval Command, Office of Strategic Services, London, England, in connection with military operations against an armed enemy in enemy-occupied territory, from 8 January to 20 May 1944. Operating in civilian clothes and aware that he would be subject to execution in the event of his capture, Major Ortiz parachuted from an airplane with two other officers of an Inter-Allied mission to reorganize existing Marquis groups in the region of Rhone. By his tact, resourcefulness and leadership, he was largely instrumental in affecting the acceptance of the mission by local resistance leaders, and also in organizing parachute operations for the delivery of arms, ammunition and equipment for use by the Marquis in his region. Although his identity had become known to the Gestapo with the resultant increase in personal hazard, he voluntarily conducted to the Spanish border four Royal Air Force officers who had been shot down in his region, and later returned to resume his duties. Repeatedly leading successful raids during the period of this assignment, Major Ortiz inflicted heavy casualties on enemy forces greatly superior in number, with small losses to his own forces. By his heroic leadership and astuteness in planning and executing these hazardous forays, Major Ortiz served as an inspiration to his subordinates and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.


...and on the eighth day, God created the radial engine...

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I don't know how I forgot this, but Richard Todd played in another D-Day movie, the 1956 D-Day the Sixth of June, in this one he played a fictional character Lieutenant Colonel John Wynter, seconded from one of the Battalions of the Somerset Light Infantry to the Commandos,, in real life Todd actually served in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry before joining the Paratroopers.



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Just now, patches said:

I don't know how I forgot this, but Richard Todd played in another D-Day movie, the 1956 D-Day the Sixth of June, in this one he played a fictional character Lieutenant Colonel John Wynter, seconded from one of the Battalions of the Somerset Light Infantry to the Commandos,, in real life Todd actually served in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry before joining the Paratroopers.



And was finally able to find a service photo of Todd during the war no doubt before Overlord, quite the dashing Subaltern yes.


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