12 Celebrities Who Put Their Country Before Their Careers During WWII

Published January 9, 2018

From actors to baseball stars, these celebrities risked their careers to serve in WWII and fight the Axis powers.

Clark Gable serving as a gunnery instructor with the US Army Air Force
Ted Williams enlists in the navy
Joe Dimaggio getting a new patch on his WWII uniform
Henry Fonda in his U.S. navy uniform
12 Celebrities Who Put Their Country Before Their Careers During WWII
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Imagine a career filled with fame and fortune arriving at your doorstep, only to have your country threatened by war. ‘Uncle Sam’ wants you to drop everything you’ve worked for and serve your country- and that’s just what these 12 stars did.

These Hollywood actors and professional athletes were unsure if they’d come back to the careers they’d worked so hard for - or even come back at all. Some, of course, answered their draft call - but others enlisted of their own free will.

The need to defend the United States in WWII spoke louder than the voice of superficial fame. Often, these former civilians found that military life suited them; going on to rank in several different factions of the Armed Forces before returning to their careers and families.

Next, meet the dentist who killed 98 Japanese soldiers, before being shot to death. Then, read the amazing true story of World War 2 medic Desmond Doss, who saved hundreds of lives without ever picking up a weapon.

Erin Kelly
An All That’s Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she’s designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.