WeSalute Awards

VetFamily: George Clooney, A Man on a Mission

George Clooney

George Clooney has two Oscars, has starred in dozens of acclaimed films, and has been called the sexiest man alive and America’s most eligible bachelor. No longer a bachelor, Clooney just welcomed twins with his wife, Amal. He has also had a great lifelong relationship with his father, Nick Clooney, a U.S. Army veteran, who is now inspiring him to be a great dad himself.

George has played military personnel during his career and most recently has helped support the troops in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s “Rock the Troops” for the 2016 holidays. Recent motion pictures with Clooney in military roles include “Three Kings,” and “The Monuments Men.”

His 2014 marriage to Alma Alamuddin, a human rights attorney, further shows how deeply he values service to his fellow man. He has used his fame to defend the rights of others as the spokesperson and sponsor of humanitarian causes for Darfur, Haiti, Hurricane Katrina, Syrian refugees, and the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Nick Clooney – married for nearly 60 years to Nina Warren, a former beauty pageant queen -- served in the Korea demilitarized zone and Germany in the 1950s, and has been in front of cameras, or microphone, for most of his professional life. He began his career in radio and excelled at those skills as a corporal in the U.S. Army serving as a disc jockey for Armed Forces Radio.

Later, he tried his hand at acting and did not get too far beyond appearing in “Handle with Care” starring Dean Jones and several other films. He also hosted the game show “Moneymaze” in the 1970s, became a TV journalist, and in the 1990s gained national prominence as a host on the American Movie Classics (AMC) TV network.

Ironically, thanks to his son, he recently returned to movie screens playing a WWII veteran in “The Monuments Men.” In it, his younger self (played by George) assembles an Army unit comprising museum directors, curators, art historians, and an architect, to guide Allied units in recovering stolen art lost during the war.

And all along the way, Nick Cooney has been the voice of reason who reminded George during his bachelor years that he would eventually meet his soulmate and become a great father.

“I would listen to him patiently and then finally step in and say, ‘George, some astounding woman is going to knock your socks off, end of story.’ And it’s exactly what happened,” he told People Magazine.

“I’ve been telling George since he was 30 that I thought he would be a great parent,” George’s father also told People.

Clooney, second from left between Brad Pitt (l) and Matt Damon (r), touring with the cast of "Oceans 11" at the U.S. Incirlik Air Base in Turkey
Clooney, second from left between Brad
Pitt (l) and Matt Damon (r), touring with
the cast of "Oceans 11" at the U.S.
Incirlik Air Base in Turkey

Nick and Nina were also present when George met Amal for the first time at a dinner party.

“By the end of supper, I started looking over at Nina and saying, ‘Look ouuuut, this could be trouble for this young man!’” Nick told People.

“I really think by the time that first [meeting] was over, his and her fates were sealed, both of them,” he added. “She was so remarkable and he was so remarkable around her.”

George credits his own very close family life which has rooted him. When asked about his dad by CBS’s Charlie Rose, Clooney responded "I'm really close with my mom, too. I'm really close with my family."

George Clooney is also the nephew of the late cabaret entertainer Rosemary Clooney, who has performed on tour with the USO and Bob Hope.

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Cover Story: How & Why WeSalute Was Founded 25 Years Ago

WeSalute founders Scott and Lin Higgins have spent a lifetime in the military community, from Scott’s combat service in Vietnam and the service of Lin’s father in WWII, to serving families and veterans through the creation of memorials and parades as part of charitable and government initiatives. It was this lifetime of service that led them to establish WeSalute, originally founded as Veterans Advantage, and to continue giving back.

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