By Julie Provost
Over the years many celebrities have also served in the military. Elvis Presley, Bea Arthur, and Clint Eastwood come to mind. In today’s modern TV culture, there are still veterans working in different roles and appearing in TV shows. Here are eight stars that served in the military, most before their television careers began.
1. Tom Selleck
Back in the 1980s, you could catch Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum in Magnum P.I. Today, you can find him as Frank Reagan in the series, Blue Bloods, a show about a family of police officers living in New York. Selleck served in the 160th Infantry Regiment of the California National Guard from 1967 to 1973 and received the rank of Sergeant. Later on, he appeared on recruitment posters for the California National Guard.
2. Rob Riggle
Rob Riggle plays Phil’s business rival, Gil Thorpe, on Modern Family. Rob joined the Marines in 1990 and served as a public affairs officer in Liberia, Kosovo, Albania, and Afghanistan. He earned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and received various medals from his time in service. He retired from the Marine Corps Reserve after 23 years in 2013. In 2007, he went to Iraq on the Daily Show to report and entertain the troops.
3. David Eigenberg
Today, David Eigenberg is one of the firefighters, Christopher Herrmann, on the show Chicago Fire. Before that, you saw him as Steve on Sex and the City as Miranda’s boyfriend and then, husband. Before his acting career began, David enlisted in the Marine Corps. He served from 1982 to 1986 and was honorably discharged with the rank of Lance Corporal.
4. Jim Beaver
Known for Deadwood and Supernatural, Jim Beaver is on the new show, Timeless, as special agent Jack Neville. In real life, Jim joined the Marine Corps right after high school graduation and trained as a microwave radio relay technician. He served at Twentynine Palms and Camp Pendleton before transferring to the 1st Marine Division in South Vietnam in 1970. He was discharged as a Corporal in 1971 but remained active in the Marine Reserves until 1976.
5. Sheryl Underwood
Known as a comedian on the daytime show, The Talk, Sheryl Underwood joined the Air Force Reserves and served for two years. She still contributes her time to the troops as an entertainer. You can also find her as a guest star on the Bold and the Beautiful.
6. Jake McLaughlin
After acting in many different episodes of shows such as CSI and Criminal Minds, Jake McLaughlin is now Ryan Booth on Quantico. This show is about the lives of young FBI recruits. In his real life, Jake joined the Army in 2002. He was a part of the 3rd Infantry Division and was with one of the first groups to enter Baghdad at the start of the war. He was critically injured in Iraq and received many rewards from his service. He had always dreamed of being an actor, even before he enlisted.
7. Jon Huertas
As Miguel in the hit show, This is Us, Jon Huertas also started in the HBO miniseries, Generation Kill. Jon enlisted in the Air Force in 1987 and served for eight years as an aircraft nuclear/conventional weapons specialist. He served in Operation Just Cause and Operation Desert Storm.
8. Adam Driver
Although you might know Adam Driver as villain Kylo Ren in the Star Wars movie franchise, he has also been in the HBO television series, Girls as Adam Sackler. Adam joined the Marine Corps after September 11, 2001. He served for two years and eight months before he broke his sternum while mountain biking. He was medically released in 2004, went on to Julliard, and started his acting career.
Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at [email protected]