After watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” Christmas Eve, family conversation turned to Jimmy Stewart. I noted to the kids (well, not so much kids any more) that to my knowledge, Stewart was the only pre-war Hollywood type who actually saw combat in WWII, flying numerous bombing missions over Germany (I didn’t realize until looking it up that Stewart had enlisted before Pearl Harbor),
Of course, a lot of people who became stars in the late ’40s and ’50s came out of combat in the war, people such as Glenn Ford, Lee Marvin and of course Audie Murphy. (The late very much alive Charles Durning, who played the governor in “Oh Brother Where Art Thou”), was quite the hero himself.) One of the girls brought up the post-war drama “The Best Years of Our Lives,” for which multiple amputee Harold Russell won Best Supporting Actor. (For a pretty amazing and updated version of that story, see the tale of Spec. Brandon Marrocco.)
But it got me to thinking: Did any actors of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s serve in Vietnam? Of all the hundreds of thousands of men who rotated through that war, did any of them emerge later as stars? I can’t think of any, which maybe tells you something about that war and how this country fought it.