Comedian Drew Carey, better known today as the host of The Price Is Right, is among the many celebrities you might know served in the military. Carey served six years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, and even continued wearing his Marine crew cut during the early days of his entertainment career. Carey has also been a longtime supporter of the USO, inspired by his own past in the military.
The Cleveland-born Carey served in the Marine Corps Reserves from 1980 to 1986, reports Military.com. During that time, Carey realized his talent for making others laugh could make hm some money.
"While in the Marine Reserves, I was looking for a way to make some more money, and it was suggested that I try using my jokes," Carey once said.
At the start of his career, he was paid about $10 a joke. His work started gaining attention and he landed spots on The Tonight Show and Late Night in the early 1990s. By 1995, his star power was strong enough that he landed his own sitcom, The Drew Carey Show, which ran from 1995 to 2004. In 1998, he began hosting the U.S. version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?.
"I think if I did not have such a great break, I would still be in the military," Carey said, reports Military.com. "I still wear my hair short and have the glasses. Also, I enjoyed the regimen and camaraderie. I knew that once I left the Reserves, I would give back to the military, so I teamed up with the USO."
According to TogetherWeServed.com, Carey was trained as a field radio operator for his unit.
Carey later got to play a Marine on CBS' NCIS. He appeared in the episode "Handle With Care" as retired Marine Sgt. John Ross, who helped Gibbs (Mark Harmon) find a murderer to clear his name.
"With the casting of John Ross, a retired Marine, we needed an actor who could play the outgoing, passionate side of the character but also the dark reality that he is still haunted from being a prisoner of war for many years," NCIS showrunners Frank Cardea and George Schenck told Deadline in 2018. "We are thrilled to have Drew Carey, who served in the Marine Reserves, as a Marine portray this complex role and look forward to fans seeing him in this powerful and heart-warming episode."
Carey is busier today as the host of The Price Is Right. In 2007, he took over for Bob Barker, who retired after 50 years in television. Coincidentally, Barker is also a veteran, having served in the Navy during World War II.
The Price is Right at Night: A Holiday Extravaganza with the Cast of SEAL Team airs on CBS Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. The Price is Right at Night: A Holiday Extravaganza with Seth Rogen airs Monday at 8 p.m. ET.
Photo credit: Erik Voake/CBS