WeSalute Awards

CelebVet: Drew Carey, Marine Before Comedian

Drew Carey

Drew Carey is a very funny man. With a successful career rifling for laughs, it might be hard to believe The Price is Right host and comedian is a Marine.

Carey, born in 1958 in Cleveland, OH, served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves from 1980-1986. He told Time Magazine that being part of the military helped make him who he is. “It instilled a great sense of discipline that I can call on when I need to,” he explained.

He chose the military following expulsion from Kent State University. After battling depression for much of his youth, his decision to enlist gave him the confidence he needed. "If there was a fight, I would win it. If there was a problem, I could solve it," Carey said in an interview with ABC News. "I could do it because I was a Marine, and Marines can do anything."

The jokester’s poor academic success was not a problem; he would go on to a life in entertainment.“While in the Marine Reserves, I was looking for a way to make some more money,” he told Military.com. “It was suggested that I try using my jokes."

He began making the rounds of stand-up comedy clubs in Cleveland and Los Angeles, but it was an appearance on Star Search in 1988 that ignited his popularity. By 1991 he had been on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and the Late Show with David Letterman. His knack for cracking jokes became recognized in the national spotlight.

After a slew of small acting roles, including supporting parts in Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and The Good Life, Carey’s talents were awarded with his own sit-com.

The Drew Carey Show first aired on September 13, 1995 on ABC and remained on the air for nine years. The show about a fictional “everyman” version of its title star received high ratings and high salaries. The public loved the relatable premise and in both 2000 and 2001 Carey was awarded the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Male Television Performer.

With improvisational comedy a natural skill, Carey began hosting Whose Line Is It Anyway? in 1998 while continuing to work on his own show. For 220 episodes over eight years, Carey and other comedians played improv games to the giant laughs of audiences. Its cancellation led to a brief spinoff and several similar television specials.

Most recently, Carey has been hosting The Price is Right on CBS. In 2007, he succeeded the legendary Bob Barker on the long-running game show after a brief stint hosting the twice-weekly show, Power of 10. His quick wit and ease on camera make him a hit with contestants and viewers alike.

Aside from comedy, Carey is an outspoken Libertarian, big sports fan, philanthropist, and photographer. He’s made headlines for major weight loss and on May 15, 2011, completed the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in a respectable 1:57:02.

With all his commercial success, his time in service is not frequently mentioned. But he credits his signature crew cut hair and discipline with his time in the Reserves.

"I think if I did not have such a great break, I would still be in the military," said Carey.

Image Credit: http://uproxx.com/webculture/feature-8-stars-that-first-made-a-difference-as-marines/

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