John McCaslin

Never has a Beltway Beat column item generated as much reader response as the one last week on Hollywood actors of yesteryear who threw aside their scripts to fight for their country - something our current crop of celebrities has avoided like the plague.

In fact, we challenged readers to name one modern American celebrity (apart from the late football star Pat Tillman) who has served or fought for his or her country in the past 15 years. Not a single person succeeded.

"I can think of several current actors who served: (Sylvester) Stallone was a Vietnam veteran. Charlie Sheen single-handedly saved the Gulf. Tom Hanks served in World War II. (Demi) Moore trained to be a (Navy) Seal. Oh wait - I'm confusing fiction with reality," writes Jerry Stephens of Lothian, Md.

"Even Hollywood . . . sent its best to wars prior to Vietnam," we quoted University of Dayton professor Larry Schweikart as saying in his new book, "America's Victories." He pointed out that professional actors were as "thoroughly represented" in the military during World War II as any other group.

In fact, Schweikart was among those who wrote to The Beltway Beat after our item appeared.

"One thing I found interesting was that the sons and daughters of senators (and) congressmen served at a higher rate than their percentage in the U.S. population," the author told us. "So much for Creedence Clearwater Revival's, 'It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one.'"

Many readers complained that we did not include Audie Murphy among an abbreviated list of actors who fought in World War II. One of the U.S. Army's most decorated soldiers, Murphy became an actor after his wartime service.


"Whenever I'm at a restaurant and spot somebody in a military uniform, I pick up their check to show them my appreciation for what they're doing for my country." - Former Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda, in a conversation about the war in Iraq with this columnist on Sunday.


"You cannot possibly imagine how thoroughly crushed I was this morning when I read (about) the fish caught by Chef David Guas," angler Charlie Loveless of Baltimore writes to The Beltway Beat about the popular DC Coast chef.

"Prior to his (50-pound) catch, I believe that I was the current record holder this year with the rockfish I caught May 19 out of Chesapeake Beach. My fish weighed in at 48.5 pounds and was 49 3/4 (inches) long.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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