In honor of Independence Day, we rounded up some of the best-loved actors and musicians who served in the armed forces.
Elvis won over many of his detractors when he refused to avoid the draft and joined the U.S. Army just as his career was hitting its peak.
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Actor and director Clint Eastwood spent time in the U.S. Army before becoming a household name in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”
Actor James Earl Jones became first lieutenant in the U.S. Army before becoming known to the world as the voice of Darth Vader.
Esteemed triple-threat Gene Kelly served with the U.S. Navy before achieving stardom in “Singin’ in the Rain.”
Guitar god Jimi Hendrix served in the U.S. Army before his music career launched into the stratosphere.
Courtesy Guy Webster
Adam Driver, known for his role on HBO’s “Girls” and his upcoming role in the “Star Wars” reboot, joined the Marines after 9/11.
Sci-fi icon Leonard Nimoy, known to most as Spock from “Star Trek,” died on Feb. 27 at age 83. For more on Nimoy, click here.
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Ultimate cool guy Steve McQueen spent time in the U.S. Marine Corps before going on to star in “Bullitt” and “The Great Escape.”
Paul Newman served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific theater of World War II before his celebrated turns in “Cool Hand Luke” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
Courtesy of Warner Bros.
The Man in Black served in the U.S. Air Force. Legend has it that he used his wages to buy his first guitar, which would lead him to global stardom with hit songs “I Walk the Line” and “Ring of Fire.”
Bea Arthur, known for TV series “Maude” and “The Golden Girls,” served in the U.S. Marine Corps, in which she worked as a typist and truck driver as one of the first members of the Women’s Reserve.
Hip-hopper MC Hammer spent time in the U.S. Navy before introducing everyone to Hammer pants with single “U Can’t Touch This.”
Jazz musician John Coltrane did a stint in the U.S. Navy before becoming a saxophone legend with “Giant Steps.”
Theodor Geisel, or Dr. Suess to the generations of children raised on his books, served in WWII as part of director Frank Capra’s Signal Corps, working on animated training films for the troops.
Actor Humphrey Bogart spent time in the U.S. Navy before his career took off with iconic roles in “Casablanca” and “The Maltese Falcon.”
Rapper and actor Ice-T served in the U.S. Army before becoming a respected emcee and star of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.”
Early movie star Buster Keaton served in the U.S. Army before striking it big in short films and in his starring role in “The General.”
Beloved actor Jimmy Stewart was a bomber pilot for the U.S. Army in World War II. He is best known for his roles in classics “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
Reggae singer Shaggy served in the Marines before the world knew him for “It Wasn’t Me” and “Angel.” According to Shaggy legend, his time in the Marines inspired him to write the song “Boombastic.”
We pity any fool who had to face Mr. T in combat. The bicep-flexing icon served in the U.S. Army before cementing his place in pop culture with roles in “Rocky III” and “The A-Team.”
Celebrated martial arts enthusiast Chuck Norris served in the Air Force before starring in “Good Guys Wear Black,” “Delta Force” and “Missing in Action.”