Topics - USO in Korea

 
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USO Volunteers Who Entertained Troops
in Korea During & After the Korean War

 

To add the names or photographs of any USO volunteers who entertained troops during the Korean War, contact Lynnita or write Lynnita Brown, 111 E. Houghton St., Tuscola, IL 61953.


Most Recent Update: September 19, 2018
 

  • USO stars who entertained troops in Korea during and after the Korean War:
     
    • Frankie Adams  - female ballet, soft shoe, and tap dancer (Her stage name was Kathy Bryan.  She danced in USO tours in Korea in 1954 and 1956.)
    • Victoria Dawn Addams - entertained the troops in Korea December 1952/January 1953
    • American Beauties - performed with Bob Hope at Camp Casey 1972
    • Keith Andes
    • Roscoe Ates - best known for his role as western character "Soapy Jones", he was on the 1952 Christmas tour to Korea
    • Georgie Auld - saxophone player
    • Lita Baron
    • Red Barry - with Mickey Rooney, October 1952
    • Jack Benny - He and his troupe performed in Korea in June/July of 1951.  He was 57 years old at the time.
    • Bernard Bradley
    • Les Brown & Orchestra - performed in Bob Hope's October 1950 show in Korea
    • Sawyer Brown Band - performed in USO tour in South Korea in the 1980s.  The opening act was by future country music superstar Craig Morgan.  "Sawyer Brown is an American country music band. It was founded in 1981 in Apopka, Florida, by Mark Miller, Gregg "Hobie" Hubbard, Bobby Randall, Joe "Curly" Smyth, and Jim Scholten. The five musicians were originally members of country singer Don King's road band, but chose to stay together after King retired in 1981. After competing on the television competition series Star Search and winning that show's grand prize, they signed to Capitol Records in 1984. The band recorded for Capitol between then and 1991, and for Curb Records between then and 2005, except for a short time in 2003 when they were signed to Lyric Street Records. Duncan Cameron, formerly of the Amazing Rhythm Aces, replaced Randall in 1991, and Shayne Hill replaced him in 2004." [Source: Bing]
    • Jane Bruner - pianist with Jack Benny's troupe in June 1951
    • Kathy Bryan - See Frankie Adams.
    • Anita Bryant (stateside)
    • Jack Burger - known as Mr. Bongos, he was born November 2, 1925 in New York City and died June 20, 2008 in Camarillo, California.  He participated in USO tours in Korea and Vietnam.
    • Raymond Burr  - Raymond Burr and Cary Grant visited dozens of hospitals throughout the Combat Zone. Mr. Burr gave readings of poetry and scenes from well-known movies that fascinated his audiences, who gave him standing ovations. April, May, June 1953
    • Norma V. Busse - A member of the US Army in 1952, she received the assignment to be  the Assistant Director of Special Services for Asia, coordinating USO entertainment tours for Japan and Korea.
    • Toby Butler - bass player
    • Rory Calhoun - March 1953 show with Mrs. Calhoun
    • Carlton Carpenter - Christmas 1952 tour in Korea.  At that time he was Debbie Reynolds' boyfriend.
    •  Movita Castenda -  Marlon Brando's 2nd wife
    • Mark Chesnutt - country music singer performed in Korea in 2009 and 2010.
    • Jerry Colonna
    • Carolina Cotton - Known as the Yodeling Blonde Bombshell, Carolina was a regular on the USO tour.  From 1952 to 1954 she had her own show on Armed Forces Radio entitled, "Carolina Cotton Calls."  Found on the Carolina Cotton website: 1952-53, KOREA (poss. Tokyo, Japan) - USO Camp Shows - Performers: Carolina Cotton, Paul Douglas, Walter Pidgeon, Roscoe Ates, Rory Calhoun, Peggy Stewart, Debbie Reynolds, Jan Sterling, Keenan Wynn, Movita Castaneda, Carleton Carpenter (There was a slight plane detour, on the way to Korea...instead of the planned stopover in Hawaii, the plane had landed in Alaska. Needless to say, the troupe was surprised, as they were dressed in summer clothes!)  Tour: Left Los Angeles for Korea (12/19/52) / Tokyo, Japan (12/23-24/52) / Korea, at Airbase, 12/24/ Korea (Christmas, 12/25/52) / Korea, battle front, in makeshift circus tent, 10th Corps area / Korea, 12/27 / Korea, New Years Eve show, 12/31/52 / Korea, where Carolina made her 3rd visit there, performing on the front lines, and performance on USS Constitution (1/2/53) / Korea (1/5/53)
    • Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders - Their first USO appearance in Korea was in 1979.  Since then they have performed in Korea more than 25 times.
    • Charlie Daniels - country music Korea 2009
    • Ann B. Davis - Miss Davis starred as the housekeeper Alice Nelson on The Brady Bunch Show and the secretary on the Bob Cummings Show.  She went on a 35-day tour of Korea in 1968.
    • Dead Daisies - USO tour in South Korea October 2016.  Band members were: Marco Mendoza, Doug Aldrich, John Corabi, David Lowy, and Brian Tichy.
    • Joe DiMaggio - major league ball player who married Marilyn Monroe.  Korea February 1954
    • Paul Douglas  - Taegu, December 1952
    • Betsy Drake - (then wife of Cary Grant)
    • Jolie Edwards - country music singer performed in Korea in May of 2005.
    • Lola Falana - performed in the Bob Hope USO show at Camp Casey in 1972
    • Pansy Rosella Borror Ferguson (wife of Troy Ferguson)
    • Cpl. Troy Ferguson - country western singer who entertained troops on Okinawa during Korean War.
    • Eddie Fisher
    • Errol Flynn - entertained wounded troops at Taegu, Korea in July 1951
    • Dolores Gay - tap dancer who served in the Jack Benny troupe in June 1951
    • Cary Grant - Cary Grant and Raymond Burr visited dozens of hospitals throughout the Combat Zone. Mr. Burr gave readings of poetry and scenes from well-known movies that fascinated his audiences, who gave him standing ovations.
    • Johnny Grant - performed in the "Buffalo Bowl" in Korea in 1950 and 1952.  He was a disc jockey in Los Angeles.  Johnny Grant contracted pneumonia while on the spring 1952 USO tour to Korea and was hospitalized when the troupe returned to Los Angeles.
    • Belinda Green - Miss World performed with Bob Hope, Camp Casey 1972
    • Groove, Inc. - Entertained in Korea.  Included in the band were Dan Stewart (drummer/vocalist), Shane Barber (keyboard, bass, drums), and Dusty Barber (guitarist and vocalist).
    • Richard "Rip" Hamilton - This National Basketball Association legend (three time NBA All-Star) performed at Osan on April 23, 2018.
    • Max Holloway - Ultimate Championship fighter April 2018
    • Bob Hope - Christmas 1950, Wonsan; Seoul, October 23, 1950; Camp Casey 1972; Osan AFB December 1968
    • Alberta Hunter - blues singer and composer.  Born in Memphis, Tennessee, this singer/songwriter took a USO troupe to Casablanca during World War II and continued entertaining troops in both theatres for the duration of that war.  She then went to Korea on USO tours until the death of her mother in 1954.  Alberta Hunter is known for her hit song, "Downhearted Blues".  She was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011.
    • Betty Hutton
    • Matt Iseman - cast member of TV show "Clean House" and winner of the New Celebrity Apprentice show in early 2017
    • Robert Irvine - celebrity chef and talk show host in USO show April 2018
    • Fran Jefferies - performed with Bob Hope at Camp Casey 1972
    • Udell Johnson - actor
    • Al Jolson - performed 42 shows (in just 16 days) in Korea during the first year of the war.  Shortly after returning from Korea, he died of a heart attack on October 23, 1950.  Jolson was the first entertainer to volunteer to entertain the troops in Korea and paid the trael expense out of his own pocket.
    • Jennifer Jones
    • Louis Marshall "Grandpa" Jones - country western singer & star on Hee Haw (died 1998)
    • Ramona Riggins Jones - country western singer, fiddler & star on Hee Haw (died 2015).  She was married to Grandpa Jones.  The two performed in USO shows during the Korean War.
    • Harry Kahne - mentalist who performed in Jack Benny's group in June 1951 
    • Jacob Kalich - See Molly Picon entry.
    • Danny Kaye - 1952
    • Toby Keith - country music superstar performed in Korea in 2010
    • Judy Kelly - performed in Bob Hope's show in Korea October 1950 
    • Marjorie Kiewitt - drummer
    • Peggy King - performed with Debbie Reynolds during the Christmas tour in 1952.  Known as "pretty perky Peggy King" on the George Gobel Show from 1954-1957, she was a frequent guest star on numerous television shows.  She was one of the first five stars to appear on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
    • Korean Kittens - This four-member, all-female singing group was led by Yoon Bok-hee.  Popular in the mid-1960s, they were known for singing Beatles tunes.
    • Frances Langford - This recording artist, radio star and actress from the 1930s to 1950s, joined Hope's troupe to boost wartime morale at military bases and hospitals in Great Britain, Italy, North Africa and the South Pacific. She also entertained new generations of soldiers in Korea and Vietnam.
    • Piper Laurie - She first performed in a USO show in Korea in the winter of 1950 and then returned in the spring of 1952.  In her memoir she stated that she got sick on the "crud in the air" and lost her voice.  She said that singing was easier on her throat than speaking so she took amphetamines and aspirin until she was able to sing during every show.  By the time she got back to the States she was very ill with pneumonia.
    • Monica Louis - singer
    • Denise Love - singer
    • Patty Loveless - country western singer performed in Korea January 2006
    • Jerry Mann - Born Jerry Solomon, he performed with a 20-piece USO entertainment unit in Korea in early 1954.  His troupe performed concurrently with the Marilyn Monroe and Slapsie Maxwell shows.
    • Jayne Mansfield - with Bob Hope in Korea 1957
    • Ann Margaret - performed in the Bob Hope USO show at Osan, Korea in 1968
    • Robert Merrill
    • Mid-States Four Barbershop Quartet - Performed 33 shows in 19 days in Korea between June 26, 1951-July 16, 1951.
    • Ray Milland
    • Lucy Monroe (solo tour in 1953)  Lucy was known in the US as the "Star-Spangled Soprano" because she sang at every New York Yankees home game.  The Koreans called her the "American Woman Skyscraper" because she was 5'11".
    • Marilyn Monroe - February 1954     
    • Terry Moore - ten-day tour in Korea December 1952.  A singer and straight girl for disc jockey Johnny Grant, Miss Moore got in trouble with George Murphy, chairman of the Hollywood committee for the USO, for wearing a red ermine bathing suit that she said made her look like a "little Santa Claus".  After four shows she was ordered to pack the suit away or return to the USA.
    • Craig Morgan - country western singer. Korea April 2018.  He had served a tour of duty in Korea where he won the Army Male Vocalist5 of the Year award.
    • Richard Morris - Christmas/New Year's 1952
    • Snub Mosely - October/November 1952
    • Eva Maria Munoz - mambo dancer whose stage name was Evita "Chachita" Munoz.  This Mexican actress, comedian, singer, dancer performed with the King of Mambo, Perez Prado, during the Korean War.
    • Patricia Neal  - performed at the  Bulldozer Bowl in 1952.
    • Donald O'Connor
    • Francis Joseph "Lefty" O'Doul - major league baseball player who began his big league career with the New York Yankees.  He was in a USO show in Korea with Joe DiMaggio.
    • Ozzy Osbourne - performed at Camp Casey February 2002
    • Gloria Pall - part of the Slapsie Maxie show in Korea 1954.  Born July 15, 1927 in Brooklyn, New York, Gloria Pall (ne Pallatz) was a model, Reno/Las Vegas showgirl, actress, and realtor.  In 1945 she was working for the USO on the 5th floor of the Empire State Building when a B-25 bomber crashed into the 79th floor.  In 1954 she appeared in seven shows on KABC television as the character "Voluptua."  Public outcry over her "torrid" show caused it to be cancelled.  Among other films and television shows, she appeared with Elvis in "Jailhouse Rock" and played a role in "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" and "The Twilight Zone."  Gloria Pall died in Burbank, California in December of 1992.
    • Damaso Perez Prado - Cuban bandleader, organist, pianist, composer--also known as the "King of the Mambo"
    • Jean Peters
    • Marygrace Petry - professional juggler who performed for the troops in Korea in 1951 to the end of the war.  She and her father had a juggling act under the stage names Sandra Joyce and Lou Seldon.  The father/daughter team performed for active military personnel on duty far away from their homes.
    • Molly Picon - This Yiddish theater star performed in the USO Christmas Troupe to Korea in 1951.  She performed with her husband, Jacob Kalich.  The two of them were on tour with Cardinal Francis Joseph Spellman, vicar general of the US Armed Forces.  After their Christmas show was over they offered to call the mothers of any soldiers who wanted them to do so.  They came back to the USA with over 400 slips of paper with mother's names and contact information on them.  Molly and Jacob called every single mother.
    • Walter Pidgeon - entertained troops in Korea December 1952/January 1953
    • Deenah Prince - with Mickey Rooney, October 1952
    • Penelope Plummer - Miss Australia and Miss World performed with Bob Hope in Osan, December 1968
    • Martha Raye - Korea summer of 1952.  Tour ended earlier than scheduled due to the fact that she took ill.
    • Frank Remley - guitarist with the Jack Benny troupe in June 1951
    • Debbie Reynolds (1950/Christmas tour 1952)
    • Marjorie Reynolds - member of the Jack Benny troupe in Korea June/July 1951
    • Larry Roberts
    • Buddy Rogers - December 1952  
    • Mickey Rooney - October 1952
    • Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom - Born Max Everett Rosenbloom in Leonard Bridge, Connecticut on September 6, 1904, he acquired the nickname "Slapsie Maxie" during his career as a professional boxer.  He won the 1930 New York Light Heavyweight title and then the 1932 World Light Heavyweight championship.  During his career he fought 289 fights.  He retired from boxing in 1939 and opened the Slapsie Maxie Comedy club in California the same year.  He acted on radio, television, and motion pictures.  His USO troupe performed in Korea in spring of 1954.  Slapsie Maxie died March 6, 1976 in South Pasadena, California.
    • Barbara Ruick
    • Jayne Russell
    • Sesame Street characters - Korea 2010
    • Penny Singleton - "Blondie" from the show "Dagwood and Blondie"
    • Red Skelton - USO show in Korea 1957 (58?).  His 13 year old son had just died of leukemia a couple weeks before
    • Dick Sladovnik (a/k/a Dick Slady) author of Gigs, Guns, & Guilt: a Musician's Tour of the Korean War
    • Hank Snow  - performed in Korea's "Bulldozer Bowl" in 1953
    • Jan Sterling (Paul Douglas' wife)  - Taegu, December  1952
    • Connie Stevens - She was 15 years old at the time.
    • Jon Stewart - comedian, USO show at Osan AFB on April 23, 2018
    • Cynthia and Kay Strother (The Bell Sisters)  - performed with the USO on two tours of Korea (Christmas 1953 and 1954).  The first time, they travelled with Dick Contino and Roscoe Ates.  In 1953, Kay Strother was the youngest USO performer at that time - she was 12 or 13.
    • Beverly Tobiason -  Born the daughter of Walter Tobiason, she and two of her performed with the Bob Hope USO troupe in 1950 as a member of the "Taylor Maids" group.  The group was a harmonizing trio.
    • Jinny Tobiason - See Beverly Tobiason.
    • Patricia Tobiason - See Beverly Tobiason.
    • Ernest Tubb - performed with Hank Snow in the Bulldozer Bowl in 1953
    • Lou Tulianello - Army accordion player who accompanied Lucy Monroe on her US0 tour to Japan and Korea.
    • Lana Turner - early 1960s with Bob Hope
    • Alice Tyrrell - with Mickey Rooney, October 1952
    • Paige VanZant - USO April 2018
    • Benay Venuta  - member of the Jack Benny troupe in Korea in June 1951
    • Jimmy Wakely - member of Bob Hope's show in Korea October 1950
    • Margaret Eleanor Whiting - singer of jazz,  pop and country standards (b. 1924/d. 2011)
    • Mark Wills - country music singer performed in Korea May 2005.
    • Dick Winslow - USO show with Mickey Rooney, October 1952
    • Keenan Wynn - entertained troops during a 10-day Christmas show in December 1952/January 1953
    • Johnny Yong - entertained with Bob Hope in early 1960s while he was serving with the 1st Cavalry Division in Korea.  This German-born entertainer came to the USA in 1954 and was drafted into the Army in 1960.  He took basic and language school in California, and then went to the DMZ in Korea with the 1st Cavalry Division.  He was stationed 20 miles from the DMZ with the DMZ Border Patrol when Bob Hope, Jerry Colona and Lana Turner gave a USO show in Korea.  Hope pulled strings and got Yong to go on the USO show road with him.  Johnny Yong performed for years with Ringling Brothers Circus and appeared on numerous TV shows.  He joined the Sarasota County Sheriff's office in 1981.
 
 

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