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Famous Marines Index | Famous Marine Rumors


Red West

West served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1956 to late 1958 and was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia which allowed him to stay in contact with Elvis. On August 14, 1958, West's estranged father, Newton Thomas West, died, the same day as Elvis's mother Gladys died. After Elvis' discharge from the U.S. Army in 1960, West was employed as one of Elvis' bodyguards. Over the years, Elvis bought West a number of vehicles as he became a world-famous celebrity.


Charles Whitman

Private, USMC

Texas Tower Sniper


Born: June 24, 1941 Lake Worth, Florida

Died: August 1, 1966

In June of 1959, shortly before Charlie Whitman’s 18th birthday, tensions with his father came to a head. A few days later he applied for enlistment in the United States Marine Corps. He left for basic training on July 6, 1959. Charlie spent the first part of his stint with the Marines at Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba. He earned a Good Conduct Medal, the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, and a Sharpshooter’s Badge. The records of his scores on shooting tests show that he scored 215 out of 250 possible points, that he excelled at rapid fire from long distances, and that he seemed to be more accurate when shooting at moving targets.

The Naval Enlisted Science Education Program (NESEP) seemed tailor-made for the up-and-comer Charlie fancied himself to be. Charlie took a competitive exam and then went before a selection committee which chose him for the prestigious award. He would be expected to earn an engineering degree at a selected college and follow that with Officer’s Candidate School. Charlie was admitted to the University of Texas in Austin on September 15, 1961.

After years of rigid discipline at home and regimented life in the Marines, he was suddenly free to use his time as he wished. Almost immediately he began to get into trouble. The Marine Corps was unforgiving of his previous behavior. His scholarship was withdrawn and he returned to active duty in February, 1963. He was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. His wife was back in Texas finishing her degree and he was lonely. He tried to recapture his scholarship but failed, and was informed that the time he'd spent in Austin did not count as active duty enlistment. He resented the Marine Corps and it showed in his behavior.

In November 1963, he was court martial led for gambling, usury and unauthorized possession of a non-military pistol. A promotion he had received upon his return to active duty was stripped from him. Lance Corporal Whitman was once again Private Whitman, and he was desperate to be free of the Marine Corps. He turned to his father for help. C.A. Whitman had made connections in his years as a prominent businessman, and he set about trying to pull strings to get Charlie’s enlistment time reduced. Charlie’s stint was reduced by a year, and in December 1964, he was honorably discharged from the Marines.

Mass Murderer. An Eagle Scout at age twelve, a onetime Marine Lance Corporal, and a student at the University of Texas, he stabbed his mother and his wife in the early morning hours of August 1, 1966. He then took an arsenal to the top of the Tower overlooking most of the University campus. After fatally wounding a receptionist and opening fire on four tourists, killing two, he terrorized the campus with rifle fire, killing fourteen people (plus one unborn child), and wounding about twice that many before two Austin police officers, Houston McCoy and Ramiro Martinez, joined forces to storm the Tower and take out the sniper. Charles Whitman had an American flag draped over his casket at the Roman Catholic funeral service he shared with his mother. Cause of death: Shot by Austin police officers Houston McCoy and Ramiro Martinez. He is buried at the Hillcrest Memorial Park (AKA Hillcrest Cemetery) in West Palm Beach, Florida.

James Whitmore


Served in the Marines during WWII 1942-1946

Born: October 01, 1921

James Whitmore graduated from Yale, served in the US Marines in WWII and studied acting on the G.I. Bill at the famed American Theatre Wing. In 1947. he made his Broadway debut in "Command Decision" for which he won a Tony Award for his supporting role. Hollywood quickly came calling and Whitmore he made his screen debut in 1949's "The Undercover Man". For his second film that same year, "Battleground", he won an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his performance as a sergeant leading his troops in the Battle of the Bulge.


Larry Wilcox Marine


Born: August 8, 1947

San Diego, California

In order to avoid the draft, he interrupted his acting studies by enlisting in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1967, and wound up serving over a year in Vietnam as an artilleryman. Discharged with the rank of Sergeant, he went back to college and focused briefly on a career in dentistry before resuming his acting training on the west coast.

Probably best known for his role in CHIPS

Montel Williams

Born: Montel Brian Hank Williams

July 3, 1956

Baltimore, Maryland

First black Marine selected to the Naval Academy Prep School to go on and graduate from the Naval Academy. He served on board the USS Sampson during the U.S. invasion of Grenada. His awards include the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, two Navy Expeditionary Medals, two Humanitarian Service Medals, a Navy Achievement Medal, two Navy Commendation Medals and two Meritorious Service Awards. Served 15 years in the Military. (he also made a name for himself after the Corps as a talk show host)

Ted Williams

Marine pilot Baseball Hall of Famer.

Served during WWII and the Korean War.

Discharged from the Marine Corps in July 1953 due to health reasons.

Pete Wilson

Governor of California (1991-1999)

Born on August 23, 1933

Lake Forest, Illinois

Wilson attended Yale University and proceeded to serve three years as a United States Marine Corps infantry officer. Upon completion of his military obligation, Wilson earned a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jonathan Winters

The real Jonathan Winters was born in Dayton, Ohio on November 11, 1925. After attending public school in Springfield, he joined the Marine Corps at the age of seventeen. After serving two-and-a-half years in the South Pacific, he returned to Ohio and attended Kenyon College.

His interest in art led him to Dayton Art Institute where he studied for over two years and met the girl who would become his wife, Eileen.

Eileen encouraged Jonathan to enter a local talent contest in Dayton, which he did, and he won a wrist watch, but the performance led him to a job as an early morning disc-jockey on radio station WING in Dayton (1946).

This job led him to WBNS-TV in Columbus where he worked for three years. In 1953, Jonathan headed for New York for the "big time" with $56.46 in his pocket. As a performer at Manhattan's Blue Angel nightclub, his reputation as a comic began to grow. Gary Moore, who was substituting for Arthur Godfrey on the TV Show "Talent Scouts", presented Jonathan on the show. Then came the Jack Paar Show, The Steve Allen Show, and The Tonight Show, where Jonathan was able to demonstrate his comic genius and he became a top name in American Comedy.

Jonathan and Eileen have two children and five grandchildren. They live in Santa Barbara, where Jonathan paints and writes when he is not performing. He is also currently at work on his autobiography.





July 18, 2001