Celebrities Who Have Served in the Military

The patriotic slay.

Plenty of celebrities have had extremely different careers before “making it” in Hollywood, but did you know that comedians Drew Carey and Rob Riggle were Marines before their comedy careers took off? On Veterans Day we’re celebrating the brave men and women who have sacrificed to protect the freedoms of others, including those we now see on our TV screens.

From Girls star Adam Driver to the Food Network’s Sunny Anderson, take a look at famous veterans who have served in the United States military.

  • Adam Driver

    The Girls star joined the Marines after the 9/11 attacks. Just before he was to be deployed in Iraq in 2004, he suffered a sternum injury after a mountain biking accident and was honorably discharged.

  • Rob Riggle

    Rob has over 20 years of military service under his belt. He served nine years of active duty then joined the Reserves. During his service, he reached the rank of Marine Corps Reserve Lieutenant Colonel. Riggle officially retired from the Marine Corps in 2013.

  • Drew Carey

    He served in the Marine Corps Reserves from 1980 to 1986. During this time, be began performing stand-up comedy. Carey has given back to the troops by touring overseas with the USO.

  • Tom Selleck

    He served in the California Army National Guard during the Vietnam War. In 1965, his unit was activated during the Los Angeles Watts Riots. He became a spokesman for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in 2009.

  • J.R. Martinez

    Just three months after J.R. was deployed to Iraq as an U.S. Army infantry man in 2003, a bomb hit the side of his troop’s Humvee and he became trapped inside. He went through 33 reconstructive and plastic surgery procedures during his 34-month recovery period. Since then, Martinez has acted as a motivational speaker aside from his acting roles.

  • Sunny Anderson

    Sunny grew up as a military child and served as an Air Force journalist and radio broadcaster from 1993 until 1997. This past summer, Anderson worked on the Grilling For Heroes campaign which gathers support for veterans and promotes safe grilling.

  • Tae Heckard

    Tae grew up in a military family and served in the Army Reserves for four years of active duty.

  • James Earl Jones

    James Earl was an Army second lieutenant in the early 1950s during the Korean War but was never sent to Korea. Instead, his unit went to Colorado to build a cold-weather training command. He was given the title of first lieutenant before being discharged.

  • Robert Duvall

    Robert enlisted in the Army from 1953 to 1955, achieving the rank of Private First Class and receiving the National Defense Service Medal. During his time stationed at Camp Gordon, he acted in plays and discovered his true passion for acting.

  • Montel Williams

    Montel enlisted in the Marines in 1974. He was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and began his time there in 1976. When Williams graduated in 1980, he became the first black enlisted Marine to finish and graduate from the Academy Prep School and Annapolis. He is a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander.

  • Oliver Stone

    Oliver enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967. While on duty in Vietnam, Stone was injured twice. He was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for combat gallantry. Stone was discharged in 1968.

  • Dennis Franz

    Dennis was drafted into the U.S. Army after graduating college in 1968. He served for 11 months with the Airborne Division in Vietnam.

  • Harvey Keitel

    Harvey joined the Marines at the age of sixteen. He served in Lebanon in 1958 during Operation Blue Bat.

  • Gene Hackman

    He lied about his age and joined the Marines at age sixteen in 1946. He served as a Field radio operator.

  • Mel Brooks

    He was drafted into the Army to serve in World War II in 1944. During his time, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Brooks served as a combat engineer and was often tasked with defusing landmines.

  • Mr. T

    He enlisted in the United States Army and served in the Military Police Corps in the mid-1970s. In 1975, he was named “Top Trainee of the Cycle” and became Squad Leader.

  • Sidney Poitier

    Sidney lied about his age when he was 16 and entered the Army in 1943. Poitier served as a medical assistant during World War II.

  • Alan Alda

    Alan joined the Army Reserve after graduating from Fordham University. He was a gunnery officer during the Korean War and finished a six-month tour of duty.