Precinct 333

Monday, March 07, 2005

One Tough Deer!

I don’t think there are many Americans alive today who have not seen the movie Bambi. Walt Disney chose a six-year-old named Donnie Dunagan to be the voice of the little deer way back in 1942. But few Americans know what became of Donnie when he grew up – he became Major Donnie Dunagan, USMC.

Dunagan made eight movies as a child after being discovered at a Memphis, Tenn., talent show. They included 1939's Son of Frankenstein with Boris Karloff and Tower of London with Basil Rathbone. But his career ended when his family fractured. He wound up in boarding homes, then joined the military as a teen.

"I adopted the Marines, and the Marines adopted me," Dunagan said.

Dunagan distinguished himself in the service. The curly-haired lad with the Southern drawl whom Karloff had hoisted on a monster's shoulder became the youngest Marine drill instructor ever. A boxer and devoted Harley rider, Dunagan served three tours in Vietnam and was wounded several times.

Like I said – one tough deer.


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