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Famous People You Didn't Know Were Marines

Did you know that Steve McQueen was a Marine before going into acting? These are the famous people you didn't know were Marines.

Anyone with dedication, courage, and immense passion can enlist in the Marine Corps. While it's the toughest branch out of the US Armed Forces, many people who enlist believe that they're more suited for this branch. With a lot of responsibilities, tasks, and difficult Marine Corps training, you'd never believe the type of Marines that served for the country.

Even though many people recruit in the Marines, did you know that there were a couple of famous people who were part of the Corps? Before they obtained the careers that made them widely popular, they were enlisted in the Marine Corps! Not to mention that you'll be totally surprised to find out the famous people you didn't know were Marines. 

Pat Robertson

Among the famous people you didn't know were Marines, CEO of Regent University Pat Robertson was drafted in the Marines before he became a successful person. In fact, while being drafted, he was given the option to enlist in the Marines or in the Army, and he chose the Marines. For serving in the Korean War, Pat was actually awarded with three battle stars from the Marine Corps for “action against the enemy.”

After his draft in the Marines, Pat was the one to start the country’s first Christian television station and eventually built it into the Christian Broadcasting Network. Even though he lost the campaign in becoming the Republican Party’s nominee during the 1988 presidential election, he was still a very influential public speaker for conservative Christianity. 

Drew Carey

Yes! The popular comedian Drew Carey was actually in the Marine Corps before he was in the world of television. When he was a young adult, Drew was struggling with depression. When he enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves, this actually helped him cope and found himself through a much-needed structure.

Right after serving as a Marine, he became a famous comedian while performing stand-up comedy. As a comedian, this led him into acting his primetime sitcom The Drew Carey Show. Aside from being a comedian, Drew was a host for comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway? and even game show The Price Is Right.

Gene Hackman

One of Superman's enemies served as a hero before he became a villain. Academy award-winning actor and writer Gene Hackman actually dropped out of high school in order to enlist in the Marines. Then after his time, he attended Pasadena Playhouse Theatre and studied acting.

Shortly, Gene became a very popular actor when he starred in his breakout movie Bonnie and Clyde. Then he gained more attention when he played the role of Popeye Doyle in The French Connection. But none of us can forget his role as Lex Luther in Superman. The former Marine received many awards, including two Oscars, and has since retired from acting.

Tug McGraw

Popular baseball player Frank Edwin McGraw Jr., mainly known as Tug McGraw, served as a Marine before he played for the Mets and the Phillies. As for one of the famous people you didn't know were Marines, Tug accomplished his Vietnam-era military service by enlisting as a reserve rifleman for the Marine Corps. Even though he didn’t serve overseas, he was still under intense military training through his six-year reserve commitment.

Then in 1964, Tug signed into the New York Mets when he was just 19 years old. In 1973, he brought them to win their division, but only to lose the World Series in seven games. However, after winning a World Series with the Phillies, he retired and worked as a children’s book author as well as a television personality.


Wait... Shaggy was a Marine before he became a rapper?! Looks like Orville Burrell, better known as Shaggy, was a Marine before he became a famous rapper. He even served in Operation Desert Storm! Who would've known?

After serving in the Marine Corps, Shaggy's first single was "Oh Carolina." After that, his reputation exploded and created more songs, including his most well-liked "It Wasn't Me," that was dropped in 2000 and became a number one hit.

Alexander Skarsgard

As for one of the famous people you didn't know were Marines, actor Alexander Skarsgard joined the Swedish Marines. Which makes sense, because he's Swedish. Anyways, he mentioned that he "hated it most of the time," because many of the guys "wanted to be James Bond" while he was just doing his duty as a "hippie." Yet, he still had an amazing experience as a Marine.

After enlisting in the Swedish Marines, Alexander had his breakthrough film in 1989 The Dog That Smiled—which was seen as a major hit at the time. Then, in 2001, he made his American film debut, after filming HBO’s Generation Kill. Afterwards, he blew up and was loved by many adoring fans when he played a role in the vampire series True Blood. And in 2016, Alexander starred as Tarzan himself in The Legend of Tarzan. He’s also won awards like an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his performance in the 2017 HBO series Big Little Lies.

John Glenn

It was only natural for John Glenn to become an astronaut and orbit the Earth after enlisting in the Marine Corps. Why? While part of the Marines in 1942, John entered the Naval Aviation Cadet Program, completed his studies, and deployed as a Marine fighter pilot. As a pilot, he flew 59 combat missions in the South Pacific and even served in the Korean War as a Marine fighter pilot on 63 missions as well as an exchange pilot with the Air Force on 27 missions.

While John couldn’t be any more impressive, he was selected in 1959 for Project Mercury astronaut training. As a backup pilot for Alan B. Shepard Jr. and Virgil “Gus” Grissom, he was actually chosen for the first orbital flight. In 1962, John joined Friendship 7 and made three orbits around Earth.

Glenn Ford

Famous television actor Glenn Ford was also among the famous people you didn't know were Marines. While serving in World War II as a Marine, Glenn became hugely famous across the world of acting. Then, right after serving, his career started in 1939 and continued until around the 1990s.

From playing in small roles like in the original Superman, Glenn also took on additional films. But not just a couple of films... a ton! He played roles in various genres like dramas, western, and even romance films. Movies like Gilda, Blackboard Jungle, Teahouse of the August Moon, The Big Heat, and so many more. He appeared in television series, too, such as Cade’s County.

Steve McQueen

The King of Cool was a Marine?! Yes, Terence Steven “Steve” McQueen enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1947 as a tank driver. But believe it or not, he was discharged from the Marines in 1950 for showing his rebellion streak too much. He was, in fact, far from the ideal soldier. After his discharge, Steve spent time in Myrtle Beach, Washington D.C., and South Carolina before heading back to New York City.

From there, he didn’t have a motive. He frequently changed jobs and hung around in Greenwich Village. Then, he discovered his passion for acting with the help of a girlfriend who was an aspiring actress. Afterwards, Steve starred in films like The Great Escape, The Thomas Crown Affair, The Getaway, and many more that increased his fame and popularity. 

Edward, Earl of Wessex

Finally, from the famous people you didn't know were Marines, Edward, Earl of Wessex trained as a University Cadet in the Royal Marines. For the youngest child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, Edward trained for three months before he realized that he was best suited for theatrical production.

Then in 1993, Edward created the television production company Ardent Productions and departed from the company in 2002. He then decided to put his focus more on social causes like The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program. Edward wanted his concentration on his royal duties rather than the television production.

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