Famous Actors That Were Army Veterans

Uncle Fester of The Addams Family was “creepy,” “kooky,” “altogether ooky,” and an Army Veteran

Did you known Jackie Coogan, who played ‘Uncle Fester’ on the 1960s sitcom, The Addams Family, was a WWII U.S. Army veteran?  Coogen enlisted in the Army in March 1941, but because of his prewar civilian flying experience, he requested a transfer to the United States Army Air Force as a glider pilot. After graduating as a flight officer, he volunteered for hazardous duty with the 1st Air Commando Group and was deployed to the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations in December 1943.  One of Coogan’s more dangerous missions occurred on 5 March 1944, when he piloted a British Army Long Range Penetration Group, better known as the Chindits, in his CG-4A Waco glider (like the one on exhibit in the ASOM), landing at night in a small jungle clearing a hundred miles behind Japanese lines to conduct covert operations.

Members of the 1st Air Commando Group in India just before taking off on the glider invasion of Burma. Jackie Coogan is kneeling at right with gun on left arm. In rear is a CG-4A glider. (U.S. Air Force photo).

Rod Serling: From the Drop Zone to The Twilight Zone

Rod Serling, the creator and host of The Twilght Zone (1959-1964), spent three years in the U.S. Army during WWII in the 11th Airborne Division!  After Serling’s airborne training at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, his unit, the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 11th Airborne Division left for the Pacific Theater of Operations.

In November of 1944, Serling and the 11th Airborne Division first saw combat on the island of Leyte in the Philippines. Wounded twice during the fierce fighting on the island, Serling was still able to deploy with the 511th PIR to Tagaytay Ridge in 1945.  From there the Paratroopers of the 511th marched on the Japanese stronghold of Manilla, defended by 17,000 enemy troops. After roughly a month of brutal combat, Manilla fell to the Allies.

By the time Serling was discharged in 1946, he had earned the Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, and the Philippine Liberation Medal.

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