Disney’s Bambi Was A U.S. Marine!

[su_heading size=”42″ align=”left”]Sir! Yes Bambi, Sir![/su_heading]

Donnie Dunagan was the voice of beloved Disney character Bambi

By Danielle Breteau

Donnie Dunagan
Donnie Dunagan in 1974 (COURTESY OF DUNAGAN)

[su_dropcap style=”light”]D[/su_dropcap]onnie Dunagan became the youngest-ever US Marine Corps drill instructor in 1952 and consequently completed three tours in the Vietnam where he received, in his words, “holes that god did not give me.”

What most people do not know is, among his three purple hearts and Bronze Star history, Dunagan is the famous voice of Bambi; the nasally little fawn on shaky legs that we all know, hold dear and often make reference to when referring to innocence on a grand scale.

Dunagan held this secret closely during his tenure as a tough and seasoned drill sergeant, but has always held the memory with great pride.

This story was just featured on NPR and Story Corps you can listen to Dunagan below.

An Excerpt from Wikipedia:

Dunagan was born in San Antonio, Texas, but his family soon moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where they struggled with poverty.[1] There at the age of three-and-a-half he won a talent contest prize of $100. Spotted by a studio talent scout, the family moved to Hollywood, where Dunagan appeared in a series of films [2] and soon became his family’s main breadwinner. His career ended after he provided the voice for the young fawn in Walt Disney’s Bambi.[3] By the age of 13, Dunagan was living in a boarding house and working as a lathe operator. In 1952, at the age of 18, he enlisted in the Marine Corps.[4] He became the Marines’ youngest-ever drill instructor[5] and served three tours in Vietnam, where he was wounded several times, before finally retiring in 1977 with the rank of Major.[5] For his service he received a Bronze Star and the Purple Heart three times. Dunagan has said in interviews that he kept his acting career a secret while serving in the Marines.[5]


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