Tag Archives: Marine Corps

Leon Spinks

 

Leon Spinks is an Olympic gold medalist, World Heavy Weight Boxing Champion, and U.S. Marine.  He was born on July 11, 1953, in St. Louis, Missouri.  He dropped out of high school, making it to the 10th grade before joining the Marine Corps, in 1973.  The undisciplined 20-year-old didn’t adjust well to military structure and frequently fought with his drill instructors.   His boot camp experience lasted six months, because he was recycled during training.

Eventually, Spinks made peace with his new life, graduated boot camp and joined the All-Marine boxing team.  Within seconds of Spinks stepping into the ring for the first time as a Marine Corps boxer in the Area II gym aboard Camp Lejeune, coach J.C. Davis knew he had a rising star.

At the 1974 World Games in Cuba, Spinks captured the bronze medal as a light heavyweight.  He collected the silver the following year at the Pan-American Games, then won the light heavyweight gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada.

By 1976, he was arguably the best amateur boxer in the world, wining all but seven of his fights and registering 133 knockouts over a three-year period.

Corporal Spinks was discharged from the Marine Corps and made his professional boxing debut on January 15, 1977, in Las Vegas, knocking out Bob Smith in the fifth round for the victory.  He was 6-0-1 as a pro and had boxed just 31 rounds when he got the call to fight his boyhood idol, Muhammad Ali.

Ranked as one of the greatest upsets in boxing history, Spinks won the undisputed world heavyweight championship from Ali with a 15-round split decision on February 15, 1978.

Just two months later, Spinks was stripped of the World Boxing Council title for refusing to defend his belt against the No. 1 contender, Ken Norton.  Spinks, who still retained his World Boxing Association crown, chose to fight Ali again for a bigger payday, but the rematch didn’t go like the earlier fight; Ali showed up in top shape and beat Spinks in a 15-round unanimous decision.

For Spinks, there were other losses that came outside the ring, the former champion clouded his training with drugs and alcohol, which led to him losing an estimated $5 million in winnings.

Spinks initially retired in 1988 and took a job as greeter at National Football League coach Mike Ditka‘s restaurant in Chicago.  Financial problems forced his return to the ring in 1991.  Finally, in 1995, a weathered and beaten Spinks hung up his gloves for good with a professional record of 26 wins, 17 losses and three draws.

Spinks’s monetary troubles continued after his final retirement.  For a period, the former champ was homeless and living in a shelter.  He later found work as a weekend custodian at the YMCA in Columbus, Nebraska, while battling the onset of dementia and suffering from a traumatic brain injury because of his years in the ring causing him to slur his words.

During the 1990s, Spinks worked for Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, winning its world title in 1992, making him the only man to hold titles in both boxing and wrestling.  In the late 1990s, Spinks was a headliner on a year long touring autograph show.

In 2009 Spinks was featured as part of the 2009 documentary Facing Ali, in which notable former opponents of Ali speak about how fighting Ali changed their lives.

As of 2012, Spinks lives in Columbus, Nebraska, with his wife, Brenda, and his service dog, a black lab named “Sammy.”

In April 2016, Spinks was inducted in the Marine Corps Boxing Hall of Fame, at a ceremony held at Goettge Memorial Field House on Camp Lejeune.

Three of Spinks’s sons have followed him into the ring, including his youngest, Cory, who was born just days after his father’s upset of Ali and went on to become a light-middleweight and welterweight champion.

Check out some of the Leon Spinks products at SuccessfulMarines.com/PX

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Harvey Keitel

Harvey Keitel was born on May 13, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Miriam and Harry Keitel, Jewish immigrants from Romania and Poland, respectively.  His parents owned and ran a luncheonette and his father also worked as a hat maker.

Harvey grew up in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, with his sister and brother.  He attended Abraham Lincoln High School and Alexander Hamilton Vocational School, but dropped out to join the Marines in 1956.  While serving with 2nd Marine Division as a rifleman fire team leader, his service took him to Lebanon, during Operation Blue Bat.

Harvey’s time in the Marines made a huge influence on his life and helped shape many of his perspectives.  During training at night combat school, he mentioned being afraid of the dark.  An instructor told him that everyone is afraid of the dark because people are afraid of the unknown, and he would teach him how to handle it. Harvey took the lesson to heart and extended it to other areas of his life over the years.

After his discharge he returned to New York and worked as a court stenographer for several years and was able to support himself before beginning his acting career when he joined the New York’s Actors Studio.  His persistence paid off, and he began landing roles in live theater.

His film career took off with Martin Scorsese‘s 1967 “Who’s That Knocking at My Door.”  The actor and director hit it off, and Harvey returned in future Scorsese films.

Harvey’s film career now has 150 credits as an actor, and five as a producer, spanning from 1966 – present day, he is still active in Hollywood and working on several projects, with his latest films including “Chosen“, “The Ridiculous 6“, and “The Comedian.”  He credits time serving the Marine Corps for his success and professionalism within the film industry.

Check out the SuccessfulMarine PX for Harvey Keitel’s films and other products.

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Donald Bren

Donald Bren was born on May 11, 1932, in Los Angeles, California.  His father Milton was a naval officer, talent agent, real estate developer, and successful movie producer.

Donald attended the University of Washington, on a skiing scholarship and earned a degree in business administration and economics.  After graduation he and then served for three years as an officer in the Marine Corps.

He began his business career at the age of 25, in 1958 when he founded the Bren Company, which built homes in Orange County, California.  He built his first house in Newport Beach with a $10,000 loan.

In 1963, he and two others started the Mission Viejo Company (MVC) and purchased 11,000 acres to plan and develop the city of Mission Viejo, California.  Donald was President of MVC from 1963 to 1967.  International Paper bought Bren Co. for $34 million in 1970, and then sold it back to Donald for $22 million in 1972 following the recession.  He took the proceeds and in 1977 joined a group of investors to purchase the 146-year-old Irvine Company,

The historic Irvine Company dates back to 1864, and has been the master planner and master builder of the 93,000 acre Irvine Ranch since 1960.  This purchase made him the largest shareholder of the company, owning 34.3% and gave him the title of Vice-chair of the board.  By 1983, he was the majority owner of the firm and was elected chairman of the board.  By 1996, he bought out all outstanding shares to become the sole owner.

In 2005, OC Weekly wrote that Bren “wields more power than Howard Hughes ever did, probably as much as any man in America over a concentrated region—determining not only how people live and shop but who governs them.”  In 2006 the Los Angeles Times said that Orange County looks like Orange County because of Donald Bren.  In its 2015 edition of, “The 400 Richest Americans“, Forbes ranked Donald as the wealthiest real estate developer in the US and 30th “Richest American” with an estimated net worth of $15.2 billion. Today, he is number 29 on the Forbes 400 list.

The Irvine Company now owns several hotels, marinas, golf courses, 60,000 apartments, more than 40 shopping centres and 500 office buildings make up the property portfolio, with the majority located in Southern California. .

In 2008, BusinessWeek named Bren one of the top ten philanthropists in the nation, with his contributions to various causes such as education, conservation and research among other areas exceeding $1 billion.

You can read more about Donald by visiting: The Irvine Company and by visiting the SuccessfulMarines PX for products related to Donald’s successful career.

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Don Adams

Donald James Yarmy, professionally known as Don Adams, was an American actor, comedian, and director.   Born on, April 13, 1923, in Manhattan, New York.  He dropped out of DeWitt Clinton High School and worked as a theater usher.

During World War II, he joined the Marine Corps and participated in the Battle of Guadalcanal, when his service ended from being shot in combat and contracting blackwater fever, a serious complication of malaria.  He was evacuated and hospitalized for more than a year at a Navy hospital in Wellington, New Zealand.  After his recovery, he served as a drill instructor.

After his service, he began a career as a stand-up comic, taking the stage name of Adams after marrying singer Adelaide (Dell) Efantis, who performed as Adelaide Adams. They had four daughters, and Adams also worked as a commercial artist and restaurant cashier to help support his family.  When they divorced, he kept Adams as his stage name because acting auditions were often held in alphabetical order.

His television career began when he won the Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour (1948) talent contest.  His most famous role, being secret agent Maxwell Smart (Agent 86) in the classic sitcom/spy spoof Get Smart (1965), which he also sometimes directed and wrote.  In the late 1950s, he made eleven appearances on The Steve Allen Show where Dana was part of the writing team. During the 1961-63 television seasons, he was a regular on NBC’s The Perry Como Show as part of The Kraft Music Hall Players.  He had a role on the NBC sitcom The Bill Dana Show (1963–65) as a bumbling hotel detective named Byron Glick.  Adams won three consecutive Emmys for his portrayal of Smart (1967–69).  He also provided the voices for the animated series Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales (1963–66) and Inspector Gadget (1983–85, as well as several revivals and spinoffs in the 1990s).

Adams died on September 25, 2005, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.  He suffered from lymphoma and a lung infection.

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