Episode 2765 – Dennis Franz, The Vietnam Vet who became a TV star

Dennis Franz in Vietnam in 1968. , Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

Dennis Franz in Vietnam in 1968. ,

Episode 2765 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about Dennis Franz, the Vietnam Vet who became a popular TV star and a well known spokesman for veterans. The featured story appeared on the U.S. Department of Defense website and was titledFrom Battle to Hit Shows: This Actor Served in the Vietnam War . It was submitted by David Vergun.

Actor Dennis Franz is best known for portraying a TV detective and starring in numerous blockbuster films in the 1970s through the 1990s.

Less known, is that Franz was a soldier who served in combat during the height of the Vietnam War. Franz was born in Maywood, Illinois, on Oct. 28, 1944.

His parents were German immigrants. Franz’s mother, Eleanor, was of Jewish descent and was a postal worker. His father, Franz Ferdinand Schlachta, was a postal worker as well as a baker. Schlachta was of German and Polish descent.

Actor Dennis Franz, vietnam veteran Nws, Mack Payne

Actor Dennis Franz at a rehearsal for the 1994 Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.

During Franz’s high school years, he participated in baseball, football and swimming. He attended Wilbur Wright College and Southern Illinois University Carbondale, graduating from the latter in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in speech and theater.

In 1968, he was drafted into the Army and served 11 months with two divisions in South Vietnam: the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division.

When Franz learned he was being sent to Vietnam, he said he had mixed feelings. He said he was curious about military life, but he was also scared of being killed or injured in the Vietnam War.

Franz said combat was a traumatic, life-changing experience, particularly losing close friends. He recalled being in multiple firefights and sometimes not knowing where the bullets were coming from.

Franz said “Having gone through it, having lived through it, it changed my outlook on life.” He added that he would “not trade his wartime experience for anything.”

Listen to episode 2765 and discover more about Dennis Franz, the Vietnam Vet who became a popular TV star and a well known spokesman for veterans.

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