15 Celebrities Who Were Involved In Historic Events

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11. George Takei was placed in a Japanese internment camp.

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During World War II, the United States forcibly relocated over 100,000 American citizens of Japanese ancestry to internment camps. The five-year-old future Star Trek actor and his family were moved to a camp in Arkansas, where they stayed until Takei was eight.

When they were released, Takei says his family was given “A one-way ticket to wherever in the United States [they] wanted to go to, plus $20.” He continues to speak about his experiences today.

12. Bill Paxton saw JFK’s final public address.

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Texas native and Big Love star Bill Paxton was eight years old on November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. That morning, Paxton, along with his father and brother, saw the president speak at a Fort Worth hotel–an accommodating stranger even lifted Paxton up on his shoulders to get a better look at JFK. Kennedy was shot in Dallas that afternoon, making the speech the final public remarks of his life.

13. Michael Caine fought in the Korean War.

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The legendary British actor was an 18-year-old reservist in 1950, and when North Korea invaded South Korea that year, he was called up to active duty and sent to war. Caine served on the front lines and later recounted a life-altering brush with death:

“There were four of us on patrol in a valley in the middle of the rice paddies. The Chinese were closing in on us and the officer said, ‘Let’s run towards their line – they won’t expect it because they’ll be expecting us to run away towards our lines.’ So we did that and we ended up going right around them. They couldn’t find us because they were looking in the wrong place and we got away. But we’d faced that moment that we thought was the end.

That night we went back to our bunkers and celebrated with a beer. We were just happy to be alive… I faced a moment when I knew I was going to die and I didn’t run, I wasn’t a coward, and it affected me deeply. I was at peace with myself and that’s guided my life, not just in terms of whether someone’s going to kill me, but in everything.”

14. James Doohan was shot six times on D-Day.

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The actor famous for playing Scotty on Star Trek saw plenty of real-life action in the second World War. As a second lieutenant in the 14th Field Artillery Regiment of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, Doohan participated in the D-Day invasion, where his division was tasked with taking Juno Beach.

Doohan and his unit faced a harrowing ordeal the morning of the invasion. After surviving Nazi land mines and gunfire, Doohan personally killed two German snipers, and actually made it through the day’s action unscathed.

Unfortunately, that night as Doohan was walking back to his command post, a trigger happy sentry mistook him for an enemy and opened fire. He was shot six times–four in the leg, once in the chest, and a bullet took off the middle finger on his right hand.

Throughout his acting career Doohan tried to hide his missing finger, and on Star Trek producers often used a hand double. But his hand injury is still visible in some shots, like this one from the episode “Trouble with the Tribbles.”

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15. Fats Domino was at home when Hurricane Katrina destroyed his house.

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In the lead up to the deadly 2005 Hurricane Katrina, many New Orleans residents were evacuated from the city. Not rock and roll legend Antoine “Fats” Domino. As a friend put it, the 77-year-old “had gone through the last one and he could go on through this one.”

Katrina hit and flooded his home, and fans were afraid the musician had died until a Coast Guard helicopter brought him out. Later, President George W. Bush visited him and replaced his National Medal for the Arts, which had been lost in the storm.



h/t: Ranker