Featuring those in the entertainment industry known to have had a valid pilot's license. Includes actors, directors, writers, producers, and musicians, as well as those who earned an living from aviation in the motion picture field. (6/21/08)
Brian Aherne (May 2, 1902-Feb 10, 1986). Film actor, sportsman pilot, reportedly had flying lessons from Paul Mantz; owned Fairchild 24.
Richard Arlen (Sep 1, 1899-Mar 26, 1976). Actor in films and tv. Pilot in RCAF in WW1, then CPT and USAAF flight instructor during WW2. Sportsman pilot, owned Davis D-1K [NC733V], among several other ships during the '30s. Aviation films: Aerial Gunner (1943); Flying Blind (1941); Forced Landing (1941); Lucky Devils (1941); Power Dive (1941); Sabre Jet (1953); Sky Bride (1932); Sky's the Limit, The (1975); Wings (1927).
Gene Autry (Sep 29, 1907-Oct 2, 1998). Film actor, singer ("The Singing Cowboy"), recording composer/producer. Learned to fly 1936, bought a Monocoupe. USAAF in WW2 as C-46 pilot in CBI theater flying The Hump, C-47 in N Africa. Flew his own post-war DC-3 for business and pleasure, also had Beech 18 [N80395].
Richard Bach (June 23, 1936). Author, screenwriter. Avid aviation advocate, sport and business pilot, barnstormer; military service in USAF as pilot 1956-62. Aircraft: too numerous to mention. Aviation films: Nothing By Chance (1974, unreleased after previews).
Wallace Beery (Apr 1, 1885-Apr 15, 1949). Actor films and stage. Academy Award (1931). Commander in USNR. Sportsman pilot with Beech D17, Travel Air 6000, Stearman C3, Stinson SR-5, Stinson SR-7 Reliant, Travel Air 6000, others. Actively attended airport dedication ceremonies and similars in the '20s and '30s, was a backer of many events. Aviation films: Hell Divers (1931); Now We're in the Air (1927); This Man's Navy (1945); West Point of the Air (1935).
Dirk Benedict (Dirk Niewoehner) (Mar 1, 1945). Film and tv actor. No info.
Edgar Bergen (John Edgar Bergen) (Feb 16, 1903-Sep 30, 1978). Film actor, popular radio star as ventriloquist with dummy, Charley McCarthy. Sportsman pilot with Fairchild 24W (Museum of Flight, Seattle), Stinson 105, Taylorcraft BC-12, others. Aviation films: Look Who's Laughing (1941).
Abner Biberman (Apr 1, 1909-June 20, 1977). Film director, character actor most often portraying sinister Orientals, gangsters, etc. Avid sport pilot, owned Piper Cherokee 180 among several. Aviation films: Bombardier (1943); Marines Fly High (1940). His 180 was parked next to my plane at Van Nuys and we often chatted while waiting for the tower light to go off for those morning "3-and-haze" VFR departures. ( K O Eckland)
Tony Bill (Aug 23, 1940). Film and tv actor, director, producer. Sport and business pilot. Aviation films: Flyboys (2006) (director).
George Brent (George Brendan Nolan) (Mar 15, 1904-May 26, 1979). Film actor. Sportsman pilot, had a Kinner B-2 Sportwing. Aviation films: Go Getter, The (1937), Wings of the Navy (1939).
Jimmy Buffett (Dec 25, 1946). Singer, composer, actor; commercial license for land and seaplane. Had Stearman and Grumman Albatross.
Edgar Rice Burroughs (Sep 1, 1875-Mar 19, 1950). Author and creator of Tarzan of the Apes and prolific writer of many other books/films, producer; WW2 war correspondent. Soloed 2/12/34 at Clover Field, Santa Monica CA, and bought Security Airster S-1A [NC13746], christened Doodad. He signed up for flying lessons under the name of "Grainger Smith" so that his wife wouldn't learn of it and be worried. Trivia: Burroughs convinced his future son-in-law, actor James Pierce (qv), to play the lead role in his 1927 film, Tarzan and the Golden Lion, which meant him rejecting an offer to play a pilot in Wings. That part went to Gary Cooper instead and, by an odd twist of fate, Pierce did have an uncredited bit-part in Wings as an Army MP, but Cooper went on to stardom.
Johnny Carson (Oct 23, 1925-Jan 23, 2005). NBC tv host and personality, reportedly learned to fly and received his license, also reportedly in Nov 1963, but extent of aviation activity unknown.
Ruth Chatterton (Dec 24, 1893-Nov 24, 1961). Film actress, sport pilot; sponsored the Air Sportsman Pilot Trophy Race for women flyers, which began in 1935 as a test of piloting and navigational skills rather than speed.
Roy Clark (Roy Linwood Clark) (Apr 15, 1933). Musician, singer; pilot licensed in 1998.
Frank Clarke (Dec 22, 1897-Apr 10, 1947). Pilot, character actor. There are 76 motion pictures, mostly non-aviation, credited to Clarke as actor 1912-1941, but some show names as Frank Clark and Frank M Clarke in supporting roles, which might be a different person or a typographical error. A character role as Daddy Clarke in 1913 "Under the Sea" puts him at age 16, and one year later in "The Spoilers," a Frank Clark (no "e") plays the role of Dextry, a somewhat elderly man. Aviation films: Ace of Aces (1933) (actor, pilot); Air Patrol, The (1928) (actor, pilot); Captains of the Clouds (1942) (studio chief pilot); Cloud Rider, The (1925) (actor, pilot); Flight Command (1940) (pilot); Flying Deuces, The (1939) (chief pilot, technical advisor); Flying Devils (1929) (pilot); Flying Fool (1929) (pilot); Great Air Mystery, The (1935) (actor, pilot); Hell's Angels (1930) (actor, pilot); Lost Squadron, The (1932) (actor, pilot); Men with Wings (1938) (actor, pilot); Secret of Dr Kildare, The (1939) (pilot); Sundown (1941) (actor, pilot).
Merian C Cooper (Oct 24, 1896-Apr 21, 1973). Film director, producer, writer, adventurer and explorer; Academy Award (1952) for his innovations and contributions to motion pictures; RKO head of production (1933); co-fdr (with director John Ford) of Argosy Productions (1947). RAF Lt WW1, bomber pilot; post-WW1, Polish-American Kosciuszko Sqn fighter pilot in battles with Reds; USAAF LtCol/BrigGen WW2, Chennault's Chief of Staff 14th AF; PanAm board of directors. Lifelong aviation advocate, Cinerama pioneer, his personal adventures would themselves make a moviethe spirited character of Carl Denham in "King Kong" was modeled after some of his jungle experiences. Trivia: In its flying scene, the pilot is played by Cooper and his observer is co-producer Ernest Schoedsack, who decided to play the parts when Cooper said, "I think we should kill the sonofabitch ourselves!" Aviation films: Ace of Aces (exec producer) (1933); Flying Devils (1933) (exec producer) (1933); This Is Cinerama (1952) (producer, filmographer).
Charles Correll (1890-Sep 26, 1972). Radio star, script writer, "Andy" of the popular comedy team of "Amos 'n' Andy." Sportsman pilot, flew Stinson SR-8E [NC16196].
Tom Cruise (Thomas Cruise Mapother IV) (July 3, 1962). Film actor. Pilots license in Canada 1994, USA commercial license 1998; owned a P-51 Montana Miss. Aviation films: Top Gun (1986).
Robert Cummings (June 10, 1908-Dec 2, 1990). Actor in films and tv. WW2 CPT flight instructor. Sportsman pilot, flew familiar all-green Porterfield 35-70 Spinach and Cessna C-37 Airmaster Spinach II [NC18550], Lockheed 12. Aviation films: Border Flight (1936); Carpetbaggers, The (1964); You Came Along (1945).
Cecil B DeMille (Aug 12, 1881-Feb 21, 1959). Film director, producer. Learned to fly from Al Wilson in a Curtiss JN-4, established DeMille Airport at Wilshire Blvd and Crescent (now Fairfax) Ave in Los Angeles (1918-22), as well as an adjacent second airfield and a third in Altadena, and Mercury Airlines (1921-22).
John Denver (Henry John Deutschendorf Jr) (Dec 31, 1943-Oct 12, 1997). Singer, composer, actor. Sportsman pilot; died in a crash of his new experimental at Monterey CA, reportedly when he failed to switch fuel tanks.
Brian Donlevy (Feb 9, 1901-Apr 5, 1972). Actor. Pilot in Lafayette Flying Corps (not Lafayette Escadrille, as sometimes reported) in WW1; USAAF in WW2 as flight instructor. Extent of civil flying unknown. Aviation films: Command Decision (1948); Crack Up (1936); I Wanted Wings (1941); Thirteen Hours by Air (1936).
Michael Dorn (Dec 9, 1952). Film/tv actor; sportsman pilot; member USAF Aviation Heritage Foundation. Owned and flew F-86, Saberliner, T-33.
Robert Douglas (Robert Douglas Finlayson) (Nov 9, 1909-Jan 11, 1999). Actor, director (UK and USA). Fleet Air Arm in WW2. Aviation films: Flight to Tangier (1953); Lion Has Wings, The (1939).
Hugh Downs (Feb 14, 1921). Newscaster, tv personality, announcer for Jack Paar tv shows, film/tv bit actor most often portraying himself. Sport and business pilot, licensed 1976 for balloon, aircraft, glider. Was a member of the NASA Advisory Council and chair of the Board of Governors of the National Space Society. Aviation films: exec producer and narrator for unreleased Richard Bach feature Nothing By Chance (1975).
Jerry Doyle (July 16, 1956). Actor in films and tv. Pilot license and degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle. His first post-college job was selling Falcon jets.
Clint Eastwood (May 31, 1930). Actor, sport and business pilot, licensed for helicopter/rotorcraft in 1989.
Victor Fleming (Feb 23, 1889-Jan 6, 1949). Film director, producer. Flew planes for business (scouting film locations) and pleasure; had Lockheed Sirius 8 Special (1930-34) and others up to Beech Bonanza. Aviation films: Guy Named Joe, A (1943), Test Pilot (1938), White Sister (1933).
Errol Flynn, reportedly had flying lessons from Paul Mantz c.1938, but no verification found.
Harrison Ford (July 13, 1942). Film actor. Aircraft and helicopter ratings. EAA Young Eagles program chairman (2005). Aviation films: Air Force One (1997); Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
Morgan Freeman (June 1, 1937). Film actor. Licensed private pilot, was USAF mechanic 1955-59.
John Garrick (Aug 31, 1902-Oct 22, 1966). Film actor, sport pilot. Aviation films: Sky Hawk (1929).
Ernest K Gann (Oct 13, 1910-Dec 19, 1991). Author, film screenwriter. USAAF ATC pilot in WW2, sport and business pilot. Aviation films: Aviator, The (1985) (book); Blaze of Noon (1947) (novel); Fate Is the Hunter (1964) (book); High and the Mighty, The (1954) (also novel); Island in the Sky (1953) (also novel); Last Flight of Noah's Ark, The (1980) (story).
Hoot Gibson (Edmund Richard Gibson) (Aug 6, 1892-Aug 23, 1962). Film actor and producer, mostly westerns (1910-44). Sportsman pilot plus involvement in several aviation enterprises; did his own stunt flying in The Flyin' Cowboy (1928). Other aviation films: Flight To Nowhere (1946); Winged Horseman, The (1929). SEE ALSO Ken Maynard.
Arthur Godfrey (Aug 31, 1903-Mar 16, 1983). Entertainer, popular radio/tv host for 30 years, minor roles in four films. Inductee, Radio Hall of Fame 1988. Avid flyer and aviation proponent; pilot license in 1950. USN service as radio operator 1920-24, USCG 1927-30; a USNR Cdr, he could fly most everything in the fleet during the '50s, even qualified for carrier operations. At the request of Genl Curtis Lemay, and with DoD approval, he transferred to USAFR as full Colonel. Well-known was his DC-3, a gift from Eddie Rickenbacker and Eastern Air Lines as thanks for his aviation booster activities.
Michelle Goodeve (Apr 22, 1952). Tv actress, screenwriter. Owned Aeronca 7AC, de Havilland Tiger Moth, Luscombe, Piper Tri-Pacer, Pietenpol Air Camper. Aviation films: roles as pilot in tv series Barnstormers (2005), Danger Bay (1986), Vulcan EFTS (1987), White Fang (1993).
Dick Grace (Jan 10, 1898-June 25, 1965). Pilot, film actor, screenwriter. Aviation films: Flying Fool, The (1925) (pilot, actor); Lilac Time (1928) (pilot, flight sequences direstor); Lost Squadron, The (1932) (pilot, story); Wings (1927) (pilot).
Everett Greenbaum (Dec 20, 1919-July 11, 1999). Film/tv bit character actor, screenwriter for tv M*A*S*H, Andy Griffith, Mr Peepers, and most Don Knotts films; USN service pilot in WW2. Last flew green Cessna 175 The Green Bomber.
Paul Harvey (Paul Harvey Aurandt) (Sep 4, 1918). Popular radio features reporter and personality. Ex-USAAC. Trivia: An article in the 11/7/78 issue of Esquire magazine tells of Harvey stealing a military airplane and being discharged from Army on a Section 8 (mental illness) in 1944.
Howard Hawks (May 30, 1896-Dec 26, 1977). Film director, producer. Sport aviator, WW1 pilot. Aviation films: Air Circus, The (1928); Air Force (1943) Ceiling Zero (1935); Dawn Patrol, The (1930); Only Angels Have Wings (1939) (producer, director); Sky Hawk (reported) (1929).
Skitch Henderson (Lyle Henderson) (Jan 27, 1918-Nov 1, 2005). Bandleader, composer; many appearances on television on the Steve Allen Show and as Johnny Carson's bandleader (Tonight Show 1962-1988). USAAF service during WW2 as pilot.
Howard Hughes (Dec 24, 1905-Apr 5, 1976). Film producer, director. Legendary for his aerial exploits and record flights, as well as for his unique lifestyle. Aviation films: Cock of the Air (1932); Hell's Angels (1930) (producer, director); Jet Pilot (1957) (producer); Sky Devils (1932) (director).
Osa Johnson (née Osa Helen Leighty) (Mar 14, 1894-Jan 7, 1953). Pilot, author, naturalist who, with husband Martin as photographer, flew tours of Africa in their renowned zebra-striped Sikorsky S-38 and -39 amphibians, surveying and documenting animal and native life in the '20s and '30s. The pair produced many popular feature-length films and shorts, as well as seven books she continued productions alone after his death in 1937. Tech director for safari scenes in "Stanley & Livingstone" (1939).
Angelina Jolie (Angelina Jolie Voight) (June 4, 1975). Film actor; daughter of actor Jon Voight. Licensed 2005, flies Cessna 208B [N48JA] and Cirrus SR-22 [N808MX].
Danny Kaye (David Daniel Kaminski) (Jan 18, 1913-Mar 3, 1987). Film actor, singer, composer, producer. Sport and business flyer, had Beech King Air and LearJet based at Van Nuys CA.
George Kennedy (Feb 18, 1925). Actor film/tv. Owned and flew Beech A36, Cessna 210. US Army in WW2, served under Genl George Patton; in Army for 12 years . Trivia: before his acting career took off, served as a military consultant for "The Phil Silvers Show (aka Sgt Bilko)" in 1955-1959. Aviation films: The Flight of the Phoenix (1965); Airport (1970); Airport 1975 (1974); Airport '77 (1977); Concorde: Airport '79 (1979).
Kris Kristofferson (June 22, 1936). Film actor, singer. Private aircraft and commercial rotorcraft licenses. Father was a USAF general, which led to his enlisting in the Army and becoming a helicopter pilot. In 1965 he resigned his captain's commission to fly helicopters commercially, reportedly once landed in Johnny Cash's yard to give Cash some audiotapes, which was the beginning of his ultimate career.
Lorenzo Lamas (Jan 20, 1958). Film actor; son of actors Fernando Lamas and Arlene Dahl. Commercial pilot license; flew as volunteer for Angel's Flight charitable organization.
Beirne Lay Jr (Sep 1, 1909-May 26, 1982). Film screenwriter, producer. WW2 in USAAF as B-24 pilot, 8th AF 487 BG group commander; shot down in Europe, but evaded capture and made it back to England. Aviation films: Above and Beyond (1952) (story), I Wanted Wings (1941), Strategic Air Command (1955) (story), Toward the Unknown (1956) aka Brink of Hell (also producer), Twelve O'Clock High (1949) (also novel).
Ben Lyon (Feb 6, 1901-Mar 22, 1979). Actor. Trivia: While working as casting director at 20th Century-Fox, he discovered Norma Jean Dougherty and renamed her Marilyn Monroe. Aviation films: Air Legion, The (1929); Crimson Romance (1934); Flying Marine, The (1929); Hell's Angels (1930); Tanzende Wien, Das (1927) (Germany).
Paul Mantz (Albert Paul Mantz) (Aug 2, 1903-July 8, 1965). Pilot, film director, tech advisor. One of the original members in the USAAF's FMPU during WW2, as Colonel. Killed in a crash while filming "The Flight of the Phoenix," and the film was dedicated to his memory. Aviation films: 20,000 Men a Year (1939) (technical advisor); Air Force (1943) (chief pilot); Airmail (1932) (pilot); America the BeautifulCinerama (1960, 1967, 1975) (aerial director of photography, camera plane); Beginning or the End, The (1947) (aerial director of photography); Best Years of Our Lives, The (1946) (aerial director of photography); Blaze of Noon (1947) (chief pilot); Border Patrolman, The (1936) (pilot); Bride Came COD, The (1941) (pilot); Briefing for the North Atlantic (1943) (aerial director of photography); Captains of the Clouds (1942) (pilot); Ceiling Zero (1935) (camera plane); Central Airport (1933) (pilot); Chain Lightning (1950) (aerial director of photography); China Clipper (1936) (pilot); Coast Guard (1939) (pilot); Country Doctor, The (1936) (pilot); DeLuxe Tour (19??) (aerial director of photography); Dictator, The (1935) (pilot); Dive Bomber (1941) (chief pilot); Eternally Yours (1939) (aerial director of photography); Face Behind the Mask, The (1941) (pilot); Fighter Squadron (1948) (pilot); Flight Command (1940) (pilot); Flight of the Phoenix, The (1965) (pilot); Flying Blind (1941) (pilot); Flying Cadets (1941) (pilot); Flying Leathernecks (1951) (camera plane); Flying Tigers (1942) (pilot); Foreign Correspondent (1940) (pilot); For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) (pilot); Gallant Journey (1947) (chief pilot); Galloping Ghost, The (1931) (pilot); Hired Wife (1940) (pilot); House Across the Bay, The (1940) (pilot); International Squadron (1941) (pilot); It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963) (pilot); I Wanted Wings (1941) (pilot); Jet Pilot (1957) (aerial director of photography); Jungle Flight (1947) (pilot); Keep 'Em Flying (1941) (pilot); Learn and Live (USAAF) (1943) (pilot); Love on the Run (1936) (pilot); Men Against the Sky (1940) (technical advisor); Men with Wings (1938) (aerial director of photography, pilot); Night Flight (1933) (pilot); Only Angels Have Wings (1939) (technical advisor, pilot); Parachute Jumper (1933) (pilot); Spirit of St. Louis, The (1957) (aerial supervisor); Strategic Air Command (1955) (aerial photographer); Tail Spin (1939) (technical director); Task Force (aerial unit director); Terry and the Pirates (1940) (aerial director of photography); Test Pilot (1938) (unit director); This Is Cinerama (1952) (pilot, aerials advisor); Thunder Birds (1942) (pilot); Too Hot to Handle (1938) (pilot); Toward the Unknown (1956) (aerial director of photography); Twelve O'Clock High (1949) (pilot); West Point of the Air (1935) (pilot); When Willie Comes Marching Home (1950) (pilot); Wings of the Navy (1939) (aerial director of photography); Woman I Love, The (1937) (pilot); Yank in the RAF, A (1941) (pilot); Young America (1942) (pilot).
Ken Maynard (July 21, 1895-Mar 23, 1973). Western film star, circus and rodeo performer. Active sport pilot. During the 1933 NAR, he participated with his Stearman in a grudge race against actor Hoot Gibson in a borrowed Swallow. Maynard crashed going around the third pylon and was uninjured, but his plane was destroyed. A conflicting report claims it was Gibson who crashed, not Maynard.
Ed McMahon (Mar 6, 1923). Actor, tv announcer and host. Announcer and Johnny Carson's side-kick on tv Tonight Show 1957-1992. USMC F4U pilot during WW2 and flew Cessna OE-1 in Korean War; retired from USMCR as Colonel in 1966, became BrigGen in Californa ANG. Owned and flew various lightplanes for sport and business.
Steve McQueen (Terence Steven McQueen) (Mar 24, 1930-Nov 7, 1980). Actor in film and tv. Active sport pilot, flying instruction by Sammy Mason in 1979, and classic aircraft collector. Reported as having spent most of his final days living in his hangar at Santa Paula CA, but died at a clinic in Mexico.
Ray Milland (Reginald Alfred John Truscott-Jones) (Jan 3, 1907-Mar 10, 1986). Actor film and tv (UK and USA). Academy Award (1946), Golden Globe (1946). WW2 USAAF flight instructor. Civil flying activity unknown. Aviation films: Aces High (1976); Arise, My Love (1940); High Flight (1956); I Wanted Wings (1941); Men with Wings (1938); Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land (tv 1983); Wings Over Honolulu (1937).
Wayne Morris (Bert DeWayne Morris) (Feb 17, 1914-Sep 14, 1959). Film actor. USN LtCdr, flew F6F with VF-15 on USS Essex in WW2; credited as an Ace with seven victories, as well as participating in the sinking of five Japanese warships; awarded four Distinguished Flying Crosses and two Air Medals. Reportedly maintained his civil pilot license post-war but extent of flying activity unknown. Aviation films: Arctic Flight (1952); Flight Angels (1940); I Wanted Wings (1941); Task Force (1949).
Wayne Newton (Carson Wayne Newton) (Apr 3, 1942). Entertainer, singer, musician. Helicopter pilot since c.1970. Convair 440, Bell helo.
Chuck Norris (Carlos Ray Norris) (Mar 10, 1940) Film and tv actor; martial arts exponent. Served in USAF. Reported as flying a Bell Jet Ranger at his Houston TX ranch. No other info found.
Susan Oliver (Charlotte Gercke) (Feb 13, 1937-May 10, 1990). Actress in film and tv. Sportsman pilot, flew Aero Commander 200; won Powder Puff Derby 1970. Aviation films: Amelia Earhart (tv 1976); International Airport (tv 1985).
Laurence Olivier (May 22, 1907-July 11, 1989). Film and tv actor, director (UK and USA). Academy Awards (1947, 1949), BAFTAs (1956, 1970), Emmy Awards (1960, 1973, 1975, 1982, 1984), Golden Globes (1949, 1977), C B DeMille Award (1983); knighthood 19??. Fleet Air Arm utility pilot with 757 Sqn in WW2. Aviation films: Battle of Britain (1969); Conquest of the Air (1940); Q Planes (1939).
Fess Parker (Fess Elisha Parker Jr) (Aug 16, 1924). Film and tv actor. Pilot licensed in 1960.
John Payne (May 23, 1912-Dec 6, 1989). Film actor, singer, director, producer. USAAF Flight Instructor in WW2; BrigGen in North Carolina ANG; sportsman pilot. Aviation films: Bailout at 43,000 (1957); Wings of the Navy (1939).
George Peppard (Oct 1, 1928-May 8, 1994). Film and tv actor. Reportedly owned and flew a LearJet. Aviation films: Blue Max, The (1966); Carpetbaggers, The (1964); Crisis in Mid-Air (tv 1979).
James Pierce (Aug 8, 1900-Dec 11, 1983). Film and radio actor, commercial pilot, flight instructor, aircraft dealer. Was one of the early Tarzan film characters (1927) and played title role in 364 national Tarzan radio shows, married to daughter of Edgar Rice Burroughs (qv), but acting career (1924-51) was limited to 75 films as an extra, while major efforts were in aviation activities. Interstate dealer and flight school at Metropolitan Airport (Van Nuys CA), and in WW2 was a co-founder of the National Airmen's Reserve, foundation of the later Air National Guard.
Sydney Pollack (Jul 1, 1934). Film and tv producer, director, actor. Licensed pilot.
Dick Powell (Richard Ewing Powell) (Nov 14, 1904-Jan 2, 1963). Film, tv and radio actor, director, producer; singer. Active sport and business pilot.
Le Roy Prinz (July 14, 1895-Sep 15, 1983). Film choreographer, director, producer. Combat pilot in WW1 with US Air Service, reportedly was shot down 15 times; also flew as a mercenary in Nicaragua c.1920.
Dennis Quaid (Apr 9, 1954). Film actor; brother of Randy Quaid, cousin of Gene Autry. Pilot licensed in 1994. Had Citation 500.
Randy Quaid (Randall Rudy Quaid) (Oct 1, 1950). Film actor. Licensed pilot.
Christopher Reeve (Sep 25, 1952-Oct 10, 2004). Film and tv actor. Sportsman pilot; had Beech Baron 58. Aviation films: Aviator, The (1985).
Clete Roberts (Feb 1, 1912-Sep 30, 1984). Tv newscaster, producer. Sportsman pilot, into antique aircraftnotable was Buhl Bull Pup [N350Y].
Stephen Roberts (Nov 23, 1895-July 17, 1936). Flying activity unknown. Film director, writer. Aviation films: Sky Bride (1932) (director).
Cliff Robertson (Sep 9, 1925). Film and tv actor, director, producer. WW2 in merchant marine. Sportsman pilot, flew DH Tiger Moth, Bonanza; also owned a museum Spitfire XVII. EAA Young Eagles program staff. Aviation films: 633 Squadron (1964); Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies (1973); Mach 2 (2000); Pilot, The (1979) (also director, producer).
Gene Roddenberry (Aug 19, 1921-Oct 24, 1991), director film and tv, screenwriter. Academic degree as aeronautical engr, had pilot license. Into USAAF WW2, flew B-17, C-46, C-47 in 8th AF, Pacific theater; awarded DFC and Air Medal. Also post-war pilot with PanAm Airways. Perhaps best known for creating and producing Star Trek series (1966-68) which became a sci-fi icon.
Buddy Rogers (Charles Rogers) (Aug 13, 1904-Apr 21, 1999). Film actor, dancer, musician. Academy Award (Hersholt Award 1986). USN test pilot, flight training instructor in WW2. Aviation films: Wings (1927); Young Eagles (1930).
Fred Rogers (Mar 20, 1928-Feb 7, 2003). Popular children's tv show host as "Mr Rogers" and ordained Presbyterian minister. Extent of flying activity unknown, but he was taught to fly by his adopted brother, George (a WW2 flight instructor for the Tuskegee Airmen), and earned his private pilot license.
Roy Rogers (Leonard Slye) (Nov 11, 1911-July 5, 1998) - Reportedly licensed private pilot, but unverified at this time. Owned a Cessna Bobcat.
Kurt Russell (Kurt Vogel Russell) (Mar 17, 1951). Film and tv actor; single and multi-engine and instrument ratings 1992.
John Monk Saunders (Nov 22, 1895-Mar 11, 1940). Film screenwriter, director, author. US Air Service pilot in WW1. Aviation films: Ace of Aces (1933) (also story Bird of Prey); Conquest of the Air (1940) (also director); Dawn Patrol, The (1930/1938) (story); Devil Dogs of the Air (1935) (novel); Eagle and the Hawk, The (1933) (story 'Death in the Morning'); Last Flight, The (1931) (story 'Single Lady'); Legion of the Condemned, The (1928); Wings (1927) (story).
Art Scholl (Dec 24, 1931-Sep 16, 1985). Pilot, notable exhibition flyer, actor. Died in crash while filming "Top Gun." Aviation films: Baa Baa Black Sheep (tv series 1976) aka Black Sheep Squadron (1977) (pilot in several episodes); Blue Yonder, The (tv 1985) (actor, aerial coordinator); Concorde: Airport '79, The (1979) (pilot); Deadly Encounter (tv 1982) (pilot); Explorers (1985) (pilot); Flashpoint (1984) (actor); Great Waldo Pepper, The (1975) (actor, pilot); Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) (pilot); Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1973) (pilot); Man with One Red Shoe, The (1985) (pilot); Prime Risk (1984) (actor); Pursuit of D B Cooper, The (1981) (pilot); Right Stuff, The (1983) (aerial photographer, pilot); Space (1985 tv miniseries) (pilot); Top Gun (1986) (pilot); Where the Buffalo Roam (1980) (actor). Also many non-aviation tv and films as pilot for incidental scenes.
Dwight Schultz (Nov 24, 1947). Actor, mainly tv; sportsman pilot.
James Stewart (May 20, 1908-July 2, 1997). Film actor; personal aircraft: Cessna 310; partnered in P-51B Bendix/Thompson racer. Academy Award (1940); AFI Lifetime Achievement Award (1980). Joined USAAC in 1940, was initially refused entry because he was 5 pounds under the required 148 pounds, but he talked the recruitment officer into ignoring the test. Eventually became a Colonel, 8th AF Sqn Cmdr 703 BS 445 BG, and Ops Officer 453 BG (&rt;456 BG), awarded Air Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Croix de Guerre, and 7 battle stars. Flew B-17 and B-24 in WW2, B-52 and B-58 in Vietnam; combat crew rated in B-36. In 1959, while in USAFR, he was promoted to BrigGenl, the highest ranking actor in military history (but would not permit his war record to be used in movies or as publicity). Trivia: SSgt Walter Matthau (not an actor at the time) served under him as a B-24 crewman and radio cryptographer. Aviation films: Airport '77 (1977); Flight of the Phoenix, The (1965); No Highway in the Sky (1951); Spirit of St Louis, The (1957); Strategic Air Command (1955).
Partick Swayze (Aug 18, 1952) Film actor. Pilot icense in 2004.
Frank Tallman (1919-Apr 16, 1978). Pilot, film and tv sequence advisor. LtCdr USN in WW2. Despite loss of a leg in a non-aviation accident in 1965, requalified for all of his many FAA licenses. Aviation films: 1000 Plane Raid (1969); 1941 (1979) (pilot); Amelia Earhart (tv 1976) (aerial sequences); Baa Baa Black Sheep (tv series 1976) aka Black Sheep Squadron (1977) (aerial coordinator, pilot); Catch-22 (1970) (air sequences supervisor); Cat from Outer Space, The (1978) (pilot); Capricorn One (1978) (pilot); Carpetbaggers, The (1964) (pilot); Charley Varrick (1973) (flying sequences); Day the Earth Moved, The (tv 1974) (pilot); Death Race (tv 1973) (pilot); Great Waldo Pepper, The (1975) (aerial sequences supervisor, pilot); Hogan's Heroes (tv 1965) episode 1.5: "Flight of the Valkyrie, The" (pilot); It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963) (pilot); Lucky Lady (1975) (pilot); Murphy's War (1971) (pilot).
Robert Taylor (Spangler Arlington Brugh) (Aug 5, 1911-June 8, 1969). Film and tv actor. USN twin-engine flight instructor in WW2; also directed 17 USN training films; sportsman pilot. Aviation films: Above and Beyond (1952); Fighting Lady, The (1944) (narrator); Flight Command (1940); West Point of the Air (1935).
Frank Tomick (Sep 11, 1894-Oct 29, 1966). Pilot, actor. Aviation films: Ace of Aces (1933) (pilot); Air Hawk (1924) (pilot, actor); Air Patrol, The (1928) (pilot, actor); Ceiling Zero (1935) (pilot); Cloud Rider, The (1925) (pilot); Eagle and the Hawk, The (1933) (pilot); Fighting American, The (1924) (pilot); Flying Mail, The (1926) (pilot, actor); Flying Through (1925) (pilot); Forest Ranger (1924) (pilot); Hell's Angels (1930) (pilot); Hell in the Heavens (1934) (pilot); Men with Wings (1938) (uncredited); Speed Wings (1934) (pilot); Test Pilot (1938) (pilot); Three Miles Up (1927) (pilot); Too Hot to Handle (1938) (pilot); Wings (1927) (pilot, actor); Won in the Clouds (1928) (pilot, actor).
Mel Tormé (Melvin Howard Tormé) (Sep 13, 1925-June 5, 1999). Singer, actor, writer, composer. Sportsman pilot, aviation historian.
John Travolta (Feb 18, 1954). Film actor, producer. Business and sportsman pilot, aviation advocate, began with an Ercoupe in the '70s, worked his way up to Learjet; also Gulftreams, DC-3, 707; rated as airline pilot. Has his own airport in Ocala FL. Aviation films: Blue Angels 50th Anniversary (1996) (narrator).
Frank W "Spig" Wead (1895-1947). Screenwriter, playwright. USN patrol pilot in WW1 and into the early '30s, led the USN Schneider Trophy racing team 1922. Suffered a crippling back injury in a fall down a flight of stairs, then began a successful writing career. His final film, "The Wings of Eagles," was an autobiography, with John Wayne playing his part. The WW2 "pocket carrier" (aka "Jeep carrier") was his ideaa Liberty ship modified with a flight deckand, despite his handicap, he was returned to sea duty during the war by the Navy as a full Cmdr. Aviation films: 20,000 Men a Year (1939) (story); Blaze of Noon (1947); Ceiling Zero (1935) (also stage play); China Clipper (1936); Dirigible (1931) (story); Dive Bomber (1941) (also story); Flying Fleet, The (1929) (story); Hell Divers (1932) (story); I Wanted Wings (1941) (story); International Squadron (1941); Storm Over the Andes (1935); Tail Spin (1939); Test Pilot (1938) (AMPAS nomination, story); West Point of the Air (1935); Wings of Eagles, The (1957).
William A Wellman (Feb 29, 1896-Dec 9, 1975). Film director, producer, screenwriter. Combat pilot with French Lafayette Escadrille and US Air Service in WW1, wounded in action. Post-war as advanced flying instructor at Rockwell Field, San Diego, where he had two notable students: Ira C Eaker and Carl A Spaatz, later USAAF generals. After discharge became a stunt flyer and barnstormer, reportedly broke into movies after meeting Douglas Fairbanks Sr when his plane made a forced landing on the actor's property. Aviation films: Central Airport (1933); Gallant Journey (1946) (producer, director, writer); High and the Mighty, The (1954); Lafayette Escadrille (1958) (producer, director, writer); Legion of the Condemned, The (1928); Men with Wings (1938) (producer, director); This Man's Navy (1945); Thunder Birds (1942); Wings (1927); Young Eagles (1930).
Larry Dee Wilcox (Aug 8, 1947). Actor, mainly tv; sportsman pilot, licensed in 1990. Aviation films: Sky Heist (tv 1975).
Al Wilson (19-- 19--). Pilot, film actor and sequence advisor. Aviation films: Air Hawk (1924) (pilot, actor); Airmail Mystery, The (1932) (pilot, actor); Air Patrol, The (1928) (pilot, actor); Cloud Dodger, The (1928) (pilot, actor); Cloud Rider, The (1925); Eagle's Talon, The (1923); Flying Mail, The (1926) (pilot, actor); Flyin' Through (1925) (pilot, actor); Forest Ranger (1924) (pilot); Hell's Angels (1930) (pilot); Phantom Flyer, The (1928); Sky-High Saunders (1927) (pilot, actor); Sky Skidder, The (1929) (pilot, actor); Three Miles Up (1927) (pilot, actor); Won in the Clouds (1928) (pilot, actor).
Morgan Woodward (Thomas Morgan Woodward) (Sep 16, 1925). Film and tv actor, notably in westerns. Pilot training USAAF WW2. Sportsman pilot, had Fairchild PT-26, Waco UPF-7. Voice of Waldo Waterman in DVD "One Six Right" (2005).
Not civil licensed pilots as known, but in US and Allied military air services (WW2 unless otherwise noted). This list in always in development, with names being added as foundthere were many in WW1, as well. Actors or performers, unless otherwise noted: a = animator, d = director, m = musician, p = producer, w = writer, FMPU = First Motion Picture Unit duty at "Fort Roach," Culver City CA:
Martin Balsam (11/4/19-2/13/96), USAAF, bomber crewman
Richard Boone (6/18/17-1/10/81), USN, avn ordnance, TBF crewman
Charles Bronson (Charles Dennis Buchinsky) (11/3/21-8/30/03), USAAF, gunnery instructor, combat gunner with 25 missions, 39BG 20AF; Purple Heart
Red Buttons (Aaron Chwatt) (2/6/1919-7/13/06), USAAF Cpl; appeared in Broadway "Winged Victory"
Frank Capra (Francesco Rosario Capra) (5/18/97-9/3/91) (d), USAAF-FMPU Maj
Johnny Cash (m), USAF (1953-55)
Lee J Cobb (12/8/11-2/11/76), USAAF-FMPU Cpl
Jackie Coogan (10/26/14-3/1/84), USAAF F/O, glider pilot; CBI theater
Joseph Cotten, USAAF-FMPU
Owen Crump (w), USAAF-FMPU Col
Reginald Denny (Reginald Leigh Dugmore) (11/20/91-6/16/67), RFC/RAF 2Lt pilot, observer-gunner late in WW1. Pioneer in the field of radio-controlled pilotless aviation, co-founded (with Walter Righter) Radioplane Corp; also reknowned by hobbyists for his support and production in model aircraft between the wars.
James Doohan (3/3/20-7/20/05), Royal Canadian Artillery Lt, WW2, liaison pilot; as ground officer, wounded in D-Day invasion
Norman Fell, USAAF Sgt, B-25 gunner
Henry Fonda (5/16/05-8/12/82), USN Ltjg, Air Combat Intelligence, Pacific theater; awarded Bronze Star. Hobby was making model airplanes and kites, often in league with lifelong pal James Stewart.
Glenn Ford (Gwyllyn Ford), USCG, was in Battle of Midway
John Ford (John Martin Feeney) (2/1/94-8/31/73) (d), USN Cdr, USNR RAdm; Purple Heart for wounds while filming "The Battle of Midway"
"Tennessee Ernie" Ford (Ernest Jennings Ford) (2/13/19-10/17/91) (m), USAAF Lt, B-29 bombrdier.
Larry Forrester (w), RAF pilot
Clark Gable (William Clark Gable) (2/1/01-11/16/60), USAAF gunner/observer 8th AF: 91 BG, 303 BG, 351 BS, 359 BG. Also directed AAF film unit in England, rose to rank of Major. Hermann Göring offered Luftwaffe pilots a $5000 reward for his capture, dead or alive. (That had been companioned by a tale that Hilter admired him, offered a reward for his capture alive.).
Ted Geisel aka Dr Seuss (a, w), USAAF-FMPU Capt, co-creator (with Phil Eastman) of training film cartoon character, "Private Snafu"
George Gobel, USAAF Lt, B-26 flight instructor
Walter Grauman (d), RAF B-25 pilot
Rex Harrison (Reginald Carey Harrison) (3/5/08-6/2/90), RAF flight controller
Mitchell Healy, USAF Lt, bombardier
Van Heflin (Emmett Evan Heflin), USAAF-FMPU Lt
Charlton Heston (John Charlton Carter) (10/4/24), USAAF SSgt, B-25 radioman/gunner 11th AF
George Roy Hill (d), USMC, F4U pilot
William Holden (William Beedle) (4/17/18-11/12/81), USAAF-FMPU Capt
Tim Holt (2/5/19-2/15/73), USAAF Lt, B-29 bombardier
Rock Hudson (Roy Fitzgerald), USN ground crewman
Russell Johnson, USAAF Lt, B-25 bombardier/navigator USAAF
William Keighley (8/4/89-6/24/84) (d), USAAF command staff 8th AF
Gene Kelly (8/29/12-2/2/96), USN, BuAero photographer (reported)
Arthur Kennedy, USAAF-FMPU Sgt
Norman Krasna (d), USAAF-FMPU
Alan Ladd (9/3/13-1/29/64), USAAF-FMPU Sgt
Harold Livingston, USAF, C-46 pilot 8th AF
Jock Mahoney, USN, F4U pilot
Karl Malden (Mladen Sekulovitch) (3/22/12), USAAF Cpl 8thAF
Walter Matthau (erroneously seen as Matuchansky and Matuschanskatasky) (10/1/20-7/1/00), USAAF SSgt 8th AF; 435 BG
Kevin McCarthy, USAAF Sgt
Gary Merrill, USAAF Cpl, air crew
Glenn Miller (m), USAAF Maj, Special Services (KIA)
Cameron Mitchell (Cameron McDowell Mitzel) (11/4/18-7/6/94), USAAF Lt, bombardier
George Montgomery (George Letz), USAAF-FMPU, later 11th AF
Robert Montgomery (Henry Montgomery Jr) (5/21/04-9/27/81), USN/USNR Cmdr (reported pilot rated)
Barry Nelson (Robert Haakon Nielsen), USAAF Cpl; was in Winged Victory cast
Paul Newman (1/26/25), USN, TBM radioman-gunner
Edmond O'Brien, USAAF Cpl
Jack Palance (Walter Palanyuk), USAAF, B-24 pilot; Purple Heart, scars from burns and facial reconstruction after bailing out of his burning plane (1942)
Eddie Peabody (m), USN, pilot, late 1930s
Donald Pleasance (10/5/19-2/2/95), RAF bomber crewman, shot down and captured, interned until 1945 at Stalag Luft 1, where he organized a theater company.
Tom Poston (10/17/21-4/30/07), USAAC/USAF Capt, pilot
Tyrone Power, USMC Lt, R5D and PB4Y pilot, VMR 353 in the Pacific
Robert Preston (Robert Meservey) (6/8/18-3/21/87), USAF Lt, Intelligence officer 9th AF
Gene Raymond (Raymond Guion), USAAF Intelligence 8th AF; 97 BG (trained as B-17 pilot)
Ronald Reagan (2/6/11-6/5/04), Cavalry Lt/USAAF Capt, FMPU; personnel officer 9th AF
George Reeves (George K Brewer neé Besselo), USAAF Sgt, Special Services
Lowell Rich (d), USAAF, B-29 navigator
Ralph Richardson (12/19/02-10/10/83), Fleet Air Arm LtCdr, pilot 757 Sqn
Andy Rooney (1/14/19) (w), USAAF correspondent Stars & Stripes WW2
Martin Ritt, USAAF PFC
Sabu (Sabu Dastagir) (1/27/24-12/2/63), USAF TSgt, B-29 tail gunner; 42 missions over Japan, awarded DFC
Peter Sellers (Richard Henry Sellers) (9/x/25-7/24/80), RAF Cpl, ground crew
Kent Smith, USAAF-FMPU
Robert Sterling (William Hart), USAAF-FMPU Capt
Craig Stevens (Gail Shikles) (7/8/18-5/10/00), USAAF-FMPU
George Stevens (12/18/04-3/8/75) (d, p), USAAF-FMPU Col
Ralph Story (Ralph Bernard Snyder) (8/19/20-9/26/06), USAAF, P-51 pilot 9th AF
Don Taylor, USAAF-FMPU
David Tomlinson, RAF, flight instructor
Jack Warner (8/2/92-9/9/78) (p), USAAF-FMPU LtCol
Dennis Weaver (William Dennis Weaver) (6/4/24-2/24/06), USN, pilot (reportedly)
Woody Woodbury, USMC, pilot (uncomfirmed, doubtful)
William Wyler (4/1/02-7/27/81) (d), USAAF-FMPU Maj
Darryl F Zanuck (9/5/02-12/22/79) (p), USAAF-FMPU Col