Hollywood Stars in Wartime

A wonderful colour picture of Greer Garson, Leslie Howard, Vivien Leigh, Brian Aherne, Ronald Colman and Basil Rathbone doing a radio broadcast for British War Relief.

We are used to seeing these big stars usually in Black and White films so when we look at this Colour photograph, somehow they all look younger.

Basil Rathbone particularly.

I would guess that this picture is taken from later in the War after the USA entered the conflict

Some Hollywood filmmakers such as Frank Capra and John Ford left filmland behind to make war documentaries for the United States Government. Others like James Stewart and Clark Gable put on a uniform and joined up.

Others like John Wayne stayed in Hollywood to make heroic movies that would inspire the public to stay committed to a long and difficult battle.

Greer Garson made Mrs Miniver and Ronald Colman made Random Harvest – with Greer Garson – and these did much for the morale of the British people and helped galvanise support – and finance – from the USA.

Ronald Colman had fought in the trenches in World War 1 and in fact was badly injured.

He was seriously wounded by shrapnel in the ankle at the Battle of Messines. It gave him a limp that he would attempt to hide throughout the rest of his acting career.

Basil Rathbone also saw action in the first World War

We frequently hear about Hollywood actors such as James Stewart, Clark Gable and Mickey Rooney who enlisted and were decorated for their bravery during World War II.

In World War 11 films actors who served their country well included Audie Murphy whose history is well known – and Wayne Morris

Wayne Morris’ film career straddled the War years and he certainly was not idle during those years pf conflict as you will read BELOW

Hollywood war hero: Wayne Morris

Wayne Morris is rarely recognised for his service and yet was one of World War II’s first flying aces.

His interest in flying started in Hollywood.

While filming “Flying Angles” (1940) with Jane Wyman and Dennis Morgan, Wayne Morris learned how to fly a plane.

Once World War II began, he had joined the Naval Reserve and became a Naval flier in 1942 on the U.S.S. Essex. He put his career on hold to fight.

The same year he got married to Olympic swimmer Patricia O’Rourke.

“Every time they showed a picture aboard the Essex, I was scared to death it would be one of mine,” Morris said. “That’s something I could never have lived down.”

Wayne Morris flew 57 missions-while some actors only flew 20 or less- and made seven kills, which qualified him as an ace.  He also helped sink five enemy ships.

Apparently he was originally told that he was too big to fly fighter planes until he went to his uncle-in-law, Cdr. David McCampbell who wrote him a letter, allowing him to fly the VF-15

1946 — Here is Wayne Morris, just after the War, Warner Bros. star, receiving a bite of his young daughter’s cookie while his wife looks on.
Later in the Fifties – In ‘Lord of the Jungle’ a Bomba film with Johnny Sheffield


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