How times have changed

| May 29, 2007

The Washington Times issued a challenge that so far nobody has met — and contrasts it with an earlier generation:

We had challenged readers to name one modern American celebrity, apart from the late football star Pat Tillman, who served or fought for his or her country in the past 15 years. Nobody could name a single soul, which is in sharp contrast to World War II, when professional actors and others in the entertainment industry patriotically tossed aside lucrative scripts to fight in defense of their country.

Among them: Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Walter Matthau, Charles Bronson, Gene Autry, Robert Conrad, Gene Roddenberry, Robert Altman, Jack Palance, Humphrey Bogart, Jason Robards, Henry Fonda, George C. Scott, Glenn Ford, Brian Keith, Ernest Borgnine, Eddie Albert, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Kirk Douglas, Shecky Greene, Paul Newman, Jack Lemmon, Jackie Cooper, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, Cliff Robertson, Rod Steiger, Dennis Weaver and Robert Stack.

Also dressed for battle were James Arness, Alan Hale Jr., Victor Mature, Telly Savalas, Arthur Godfrey, Tyrone Power, Ed McMahon, Lee Marvin, Don Adams, Sterling Hayden, John Russell, James Whitmore, Rod Serling, Jack Warden, Ted Knight, Burt Lancaster, George Kennedy, Art Carney, Burgess Meredith, Cameron Mitchell, Kevin McCarthy, Martin Balsam, Jackie Coogan, Dale Robertson, George Reeves, Russell Johnson, Robert Preston, George Gobel, Gene Raymond, Karl Malden, Red Buttons, Robert Taylor, Charles Durning, Lee Powell, Carl Reiner, John Agar, Jeff Chandler, Ossie Davis, Frank Gorshin, Werner Klemperer, Rick Jason, Charlton Heston, William Holden, Robert Montgomery, Desi Arnaz, Norman Mailer, Alex Haley, Louis LAmour and Bob Keeshan.

In fairness, many of these served likely before starting their showbiz careers — but it still raises the issue of the profound disconnect between modern Hollywood and the modern military. ..bruce..

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Category: History, Main, Military

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

Comments (2)

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  1. BWJones says:

    Another challenge would be to look at the service of those children of the wealthy and politically connected. With the exception of one or two, I issue a challenge to find me people of the economic and political elite who are serving.

  2. bfwebster says:

    Well, I’ve been making a six-figure income for over 15 years, yet two of my children have enlisted in the military and a third may yet enlist. Does that count? ..bruce..