Actor Charles Durning died this week at age 89. We all remember him from his many roles as an actor, but what I at least didn't know was that the man was awarded three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, and a Silver Star for what he did during WWII.
Three Purple Hearts!
Unlike John Kerry, Durning earned his fair and square.
What did he do during WWII? Read on:
Durning participated in the landing at Omaha Beach on D Day, but his glider overshot the beach and his unit had to fight their way back. He killed seven German soldiers to do it, and was the only member of his unit to survive.
In late June 1944, Charles was seriously wounded by a mine at Les Mare des Mares, France but refused to seek a military discharge and spent almost 6 months recovering .
Months later in Belgium, he was stabbed eight times by a German teenage soldier wielding a bayonet; Durning eventually bludgeoned him to death with a rock. He was released from the hospital in time to fight in the Battle of the Bulge, where he was taken prisoner. After escaping a subsequent massacre of the other prisoners, he was obliged by American forces to return to the scene and help identify bodies. Finally, a bullet in the chest a few months later ended his relentless tour of duty – and began four years of repeated hospitalizations for his physical and psychological injuries.
During his career as an actor, he won a Tony award, and was nominated for two Oscars and four Emmys.