Jack Warden

Jack Warden (born John Warden Lebzelter Jr.,[1][2] September 18, 1920 – July 19, 2006) was an American character actor of film and television. He was twice nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor—for Shampoo (1975), and Heaven Can Wait (1978). He received a BAFTA nomination for the former movie, and won an Emmy for his performance in Brian's Song (1971).

Jack Warden
Jack Warden
Warden in the 1950s
John Warden Lebzelter Jr.

September 18, 1920
Newark, New Jersey, United States
DiedJuly 19, 2006 (aged 85)
Other namesJohnny Costello
Years active1948–2000
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Vanda Dupre
(m. 1958; his death 2006)

Early life

Warden was born in Newark, New Jersey,[3] the son of Laura M. (née Costello) and John Warden Lebzelter, who was an engineer and technician.[4]

He was of Pennsylvania Dutch (German) and Irish ancestry.[5] Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, he was expelled from high school for fighting and eventually fought as a professional boxer under the name Johnny Costello. He fought in 13 bouts as a welterweight, but earned little money.[6]

World War II

Warden worked as a nightclub bouncer, tugboat deckhand and lifeguard before joining the United States Navy in 1938. He was stationed for three years in China with the Yangtze River Patrol.[6]

In 1941, he joined the United States Merchant Marine but he quickly tired of the long convoy runs, and in 1942, he moved to the United States Army, where he served as a paratrooper in the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, with the 101st Airborne Division in World War II. In 1944, on the eve of the D-Day invasion (in which many of his friends died), Warden, then a staff sergeant, shattered his leg when he landed in a tree during a night-time practice jump in England. He spent almost eight months in the hospital recuperating, during which time he read a Clifford Odets play and decided to become an actor. Warden later portrayed a paratrooper from the 101st's rivals—the 82nd Airborne Division—in That Kind of Woman.[7][8]

After leaving the military, he moved to New York City, and studied acting on the G.I. Bill. He joined the company of the Dallas Alley Theatre and performed on stage for five years. In 1948, he made his television debut on the anthology series The Philco Television Playhouse, and also appeared on the series Studio One. His first film role, uncredited, was in the 1951 film You're in the Navy Now, a film that also featured the screen debuts of Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson.[3]


NYPD 1968
Warden (left) as Mike Haines with Frank Converse as Det. Johnny Corso in ABC's N.Y.P.D. (1968)

Warden appeared in his first credited film role in the 1951 in The Man with My Face. From 1952 to 1955, Warden appeared in the television series Mister Peepers with Wally Cox. In 1953, Warden was cast as a sympathetic corporal in From Here to Eternity. Warden's breakthrough film role was Juror No. 7, a salesman who wants a quick decision in a murder case, in 12 Angry Men.

Warden guest-starred in many television series over the years, including two 1960 episodes of NBC's The Outlaws, on Marilyn Maxwell's ABC drama series, Bus Stop, and on David Janssen's ABC drama, The Fugitive. He received a supporting actor Emmy Award for his performance as Chicago Bears coach George Halas in the television movie, Brian's Song, and was twice nominated for his starring role in the 1980s comedy/drama series Crazy Like a Fox.

Warden was nominated for Academy Awards as Best Supporting Actor for his performances in Shampoo and Heaven Can Wait. He also had notable roles in Bye Bye Braverman, All the President's Men, ...And Justice for All, Being There, Used Cars (in which he played dual roles), The Verdict, Problem Child and its sequel, as well as While You Were Sleeping, Guilty as Sin and the Norm Macdonald comedy Dirty Work.[7] His final film was The Replacements in 2000, opposite Gene Hackman and Keanu Reeves.

Personal life and death

Warden married French actress Vanda Dupré in 1958 and had one son, Christopher. Although they separated in the 1970s, the couple never divorced.[9]

Warden suffered from declining health in his last years, which resulted in his retirement from acting in 2000. He died of heart and kidney failure in a New York hospital on July 19, 2006, at the age of 85.[10]



Year Title Role Notes
1950 The Asphalt Jungle Bit Role Uncredited
1951 You're in the Navy Now Tommy Morse Uncredited
1951 The Frogmen Crew Member Uncredited
1951 The Man with My Face Walt Davis
1952 Red Ball Express Undetermined Role Uncredited
1953 From Here to Eternity Corporal Buckley
1957 Edge of the City Charles Malik Alternate title: A Man Is Ten Feet Tall
1957 The Bachelor Party Eddie Watkins, the Bachelor
1957 12 Angry Men Juror #7
1958 Darby's Rangers Master Sergeant Saul Rosen
1958 Run Silent, Run Deep Yeoman 1st Class "Kraut" Mueller
1959 The Sound and the Fury Ben Compson
1959 That Kind of Woman George Kelly
1960 Wake Me When It's Over Dave "Doc" Farrington
1961 The Lawbreakers Captain/Acting Police Commissioner Matthew Gower Film adaptation of The Asphalt Jungle television episode "The Lady and the Lawyer"
1962 Escape from Zahrain Huston
1963 Donovan's Reef Doctor William Dedham
1964 The Thin Red Line First Sergeant Welsh
1966 Blindfold General Prat
1968 Bye Bye Braverman Barnet Weinstein
1971 The Sporting Club Earl Olive
1971 Summertree Herb
1971 Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? Dr. Solomon F. Moses
1971 Welcome to the Club General Strapp
1973 The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing Dawes
1974 Billy Two Hats Sherriff Henry Gifford
1974 The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz Max
1975 Shampoo Lester Karpf First Academy Award nomination
1976 All the President's Men Harry M. Rosenfeld
1977 Raid on Entebbe Lt. Gen. Mordechai Gur
1977 The White Buffalo Charlie Zane
1978 Heaven Can Wait Max Corkle Second Academy Award nomination
1978 Death on the Nile Doctor Ludwig Bessner
1979 The Champ Jackie
1979 Dreamer Harry
1979 Beyond the Poseidon Adventure Harold Meredith
1979 ...And Justice for All Judge Francis Rayford
1979 Being There President "Bobby" of the United States
1980 Used Cars Roy L. Fuchs
Luke Fuchs
1981 The Great Muppet Caper Mike Tarkenian, the News Editor
1981 Carbon Copy Nelson Longhurst
1981 Chu Chu and the Philly Flash The Commander
1981 So Fine Jack Fine
1982 The Verdict Mickey Morrissey
1984 Crackers Garvey
1985 The Aviator Moravia
1985 Alice in Wonderland Owl
1986 The Cosmic Eye Rocko Voice
1987 September Lloyd
1988 Dead Solid Perfect Hubert 'Bad Hair' Wimberly
1988 The Presidio Sergeant Major Ross Maclure
1990 Everybody Wins Judge Harry Murdoch
1990 Problem Child "Big" Ben Healy
1991 Problem Child 2 "Big" Ben Healy
1992 Passed Away Jack Scanlan
1992 Night and the City Al Grossman
1992 Toys Old General Zevo
1993 Guilty as Sin Moe
1994 Bullets over Broadway Julian Marx
1995 While You Were Sleeping Saul
1995 Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead Joe Heff
1995 Mighty Aphrodite Tiresias
1996 Ed Chubb
1997 The Island on Bird Street Boruch
1997 The Volunteers Richie
1998 Chairman of the Board Armand McMillan
1998 Bulworth Eddie Davers
1998 Dirty Work 'Pops' McKenna
1999 A Dog of Flanders Jehan Daas
2000 The Replacements Edward O'Neil (final film role)


Year Title Role Notes
1952 Tales of Tomorrow Steve 1 episode
1952 Mister Peepers Chicago Cabbie 1 episode
1953 The Campbell Playhouse 1 episode
1953 Man Against Crime Deck Hand 2 episodes
1954-55 Kraft Television Theatre Various roles 2 episodes
1954-55 Studio One Various roles 3 episodes
1955 Justice Two roles "Flight from Fear" and "Save Me Now"
1956 The Alcoa Hour Frank Doran 1 episode
1956 Climax! Lieutenant Ravenna "Flame-Out in T-6"
1958-59 Playhouse 90 Various roles 3 episodes
1959 Five Fingers Fitzgerald "The Moment of Truth"
1959-60 Bonanza Mike Wilson "The Paiute War"
1959-60 The Twilight Zone James A. Corry
Mouth McGarry
"The Lonely"
"The Mighty Casey"
1959-60 The Untouchables Larry Halloran
Otto Frick
The George 'Bugs' Moran Story
The Otto Frick Story
1960 The Outlaws 2 episodes
1961 Route 66 Adam Darcy The Clover Throne
Checkmate Farrell "Between Two Guns"
Bus Stop Joe Harrison "Accessory by Consent"
The Asphalt Jungle Deputy Police Commissioner Matthew Gower 13 episodes
1962 Naked City Cornelius Daggett "Face of the Enemy"
Naked City Steve Lollo "The King of Venus Will Take Care of You"
Naked City Sam Langen "The Spectre of the Rose Street Gang"
Target: The Corruptors Jerry Skala "The Organizers, Parts 1 and 2"
Tales of Wells Fargo Brad Axton "The Traveler"
Route 66 Sandor Biro "Feat of Strength"
Going My Way Carl Wiczinski "Not Good Enough for Mary"
1963 Route 66 Major Barbon "Two Strangers and an Old Enemy"
77 Sunset Strip Max Eames "Flight 307"
1964 Breaking Point Carlo Scotti "No Squares in My Family Circle"
1964 The Great Adventure Latham 1 episode
1964 Bewitched Rex Barker "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog"
1965 The Virginian John Conway "Shadows of the Past"
1965 Dr. Kildare Ernie Duffy 1 episode
1966 The Wackiest Ship in the Army Major Simon Butcher 29 episodes
1967 The Fugitive Alex Patton "Concrete Evidence"
1967 The Invaders Barney Cahill 1 episode
1967-69 N.Y.P.D. Lieutenant Mike Haines 49 episodes
1971 The Face of Fear Lieutenant George Coy Television film
1971 Brian's Song George Halas ABC Movie of the Week
1972 What's a Nice Girl Like You...? Lieutenant Burton ABC Movie of the Week
1972 Lieutenant Schuster's Wife Captain Patrick Lonergan Television film
1973 Wheeler and Murdoch Sam Wheeler Television film
1974 The Godchild Sergeant Dobbs Television film
1975 Journey from Darkness Fred Hartman Television film
1976 Jigsaw John "Jigsaw" John St. John 15 episodes
1979-80 The Bad News Bears Morris Buttermaker 23 episodes
1983 Hobson's Choice Henry Horatio Hobson Television film
1984 Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues Mark Twain Television film
1984-86 Crazy Like a Fox Harrison "Harry" Fox Sr. 35 episodes
1987 Hoover vs. the Kennedys: The Second Civil War J. Edgar Hoover Television film
1985 A.D. Nerva Television miniseries
1988 Police Story: The Watch Commander Joe Wilson Television film
1989 Knight & Daye Hank Knight 1 episode
1990 Judgment Claude Fortier Television film
1995 Problem Child 3: Junior in Love Big Ben Television film
1997 Ink Timothy Logan 1 episode
1999 The Norm Show Harry 1 episode

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Film or series
1972 Emmy Award Won Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Drama Brian's Song
1985 Nominated Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Crazy Like a Fox
1986 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Crazy Like a Fox
1976 Academy Award Best Actor in a Supporting Role Shampoo
1979 Best Actor in a Supporting Role Heaven Can Wait
1976 BAFTA Award Best Supporting Actor Shampoo


  1. ^ U.S. World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949, November 12, 1942; Army Serial Number:12165797 1, giving his name as "John W. Lebzelter Junior"; accessed May 3, 2014.
  2. ^ "Jack Warden, Emmy Winning Actor, Dies at 85". People.com. July 27, 2006. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Jack Warden, 85, Actor Known for Tough-Guy Roles, Is Dead". The New York Times. July 22, 2006. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
  4. ^ "Jack Warden profile at". filmreference.com. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
  5. ^ Stinson, Charles (December 28, 1958). "Warden: the Face Is Familiar". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Vallance, Tom (July 24, 2006). "Jack Warden: Intense actor with comic flair". The Independent. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
  7. ^ a b "'Shampoo' star Jack Warden dies at 85". msnbc.msn.com. July 21, 2006.
  8. ^ Nelson, Valerie J. (July 22, 2006). "Jack Warden, 85; Prolific Film, TV Actor". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
  9. ^ Jack Warden obituary, TimesOnline.co.uk; accessed May 3, 2014.
  10. ^ "Veteran US actor Jack Warden dies". news.bbc.co.uk. July 23, 2006.

External links

Billy Two Hats

Billy Two Hats is a 1974 Western film directed by Ted Kotcheff. It stars Gregory Peck, Jack Warden and Desi Arnaz, Jr.

Filmed on-location in Israel, Billy Two Hats is from a script by Scottish writer Alan Sharp, the screenwriter of Rob Roy and Ulzana's Raid.

Brian's Song

Brian's Song is a 1971 ABC Movie of the Week that recounts the details of the life of Brian Piccolo (played by James Caan), a Chicago Bears football player stricken with terminal cancer after turning pro in 1965, told through his friendship with Bears teammate Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams). Piccolo's and Sayers's sharply differing temperaments and racial backgrounds made them unlikely to become as close friends as they did, including becoming the first interracial roommates in the history of the National Football League, and the film chronicles the evolution of their friendship, ending with Piccolo's death in 1970. The production was such a success on ABC that it was later shown in theaters by Columbia Pictures with a major premiere in Chicago; however, it was soon withdrawn due to a lack of business. Critics have called the movie one of the finest telefilms ever made. A 2005 readers poll taken by Entertainment Weekly ranked 'Brian's Song' seventh in its list of the top "guy-cry" films ever made.

The movie is based on Sayers' account of his friendship with Piccolo and coping with Piccolo's illness in Sayers' autobiography, I Am Third. The film was written by veteran screenwriter William Blinn, whose script, one Dallas television critic called, "highly restrained, steering clear of any overt sentimentality [yet conveying] the genuine affection the two men felt so deeply for each other."Although based on a true story, the film did include some fictional scenes. One example was when George Halas (played by Jack Warden) told Gale Sayers that he wanted to bench Brian Piccolo when he suspected that there may be a problem affecting his performance. He later learned of Brian's cancer. In reality, Jim Dooley was the head coach at that time, as Halas had retired from the position following the 1967 season.


Bulworth is a 1998 American political satire comedy film co-written, co-produced, directed by, and starring Warren Beatty. It co-stars Halle Berry, Oliver Platt, Don Cheadle, Paul Sorvino, Jack Warden, and Isaiah Washington. The film follows the title character, California Senator Jay Billington Bulworth (Beatty), as he runs for re-election while trying to avoid a hired assassin. The film received generally positive reviews and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay but was a box office failure grossing $29.2 million on a $30 million budget.

Carbon Copy (film)

Carbon Copy is a 1981 British-American comedy film directed by Michael Schultz. The film stars George Segal, Susan Saint James, Jack Warden, and features Denzel Washington in his feature-film debut and produced by RKO Pictures and Hemdale Film Corporation and released by Avco Embassy Pictures on September 25, 1981. It was the first feature film produced by RKO Pictures after a break of many years.

Crackers (1984 film)

Crackers is a 1984 American comedy crime film directed by Louis Malle. It was entered into the 34th Berlin International Film Festival.Written by Jeffrey Fiskin, the film is about a group of small-time out-of-luck thieves, led by the unemployed Weslake (Donald Sutherland), who attempt to rob the neighborhood pawn shop owned by the greedy Garvey (Jack Warden). It's a remake of the Italian film Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958) directed by Mario Monicelli.

Donovan's Reef

Donovan's Reef is a 1963 American Technicolor film starring John Wayne. It was directed by John Ford and filmed on location on Kauai, Hawaii.

The cast included Elizabeth Allen, Lee Marvin, Jack Warden, Dorothy Lamour, and Cesar Romero. The film marked the last time Ford and Wayne collaborated.

Escape from Zahrain

Escape from Zahrain is a 1962 American action film directed by Ronald Neame and starring Yul Brynner, Sal Mineo, Jack Warden, Madlyn Rhue and Anthony Caruso. The film is based on the novel Appointment in Zahrain by Michael Barrett (1960).

Flashing Spikes

"Flashing Spikes" is a 1962 television play directed by John Ford and starring James Stewart, with a lengthy surprise appearance by John Wayne, billed in the credits as "Michael Morris" (apparently based on Wayne's birth name "Marion Michael Morrison"). The hour-long drama revolving around a disgraced ex-baseball player (Stewart) was broadcast as an episode of the anthology series Alcoa Premiere hosted by Fred Astaire.

The script was based upon a novel by Frank O'Rourke and the supporting cast includes Jack Warden, Tige Andrews, Patrick Wayne, Don Drysdale, Vin Scully, Harry Carey, Jr., and Edgar Buchanan. The Director of Photography was William H. Clothier.

This show's director John Ford, actors James Stewart and John Wayne, and cinematographer William H. Clothier also filmed The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance together the same year.

Flashing Spikes remains available for public viewing at the Paley Center for Media in New York City and Los Angeles.

Heaven Can Wait (1978 film)

Heaven Can Wait is a 1978 American fantasy-comedy film co-directed by Warren Beatty and Buck Henry which opens with the central story line of Joe Pendleton (played by Warren Beatty) being mistakenly taken to heaven by his guardian angel, and the resulting complications of how this mistake can be un-done (given that Joe Pendleton's body is no longer available) providing the basis of the film's plot. It was the second film adaptation of Harry Segall's play of the same name, being preceded by Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941).

The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards. The cast reunites Beatty with Julie Christie and Jack Warden, who also starred together in Shampoo (1975). Beatty and Christie had earlier occupied the lead roles in McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971).

In 2001, a third film adaptation of the play was done, titled Down to Earth, sharing its name with the sequel to Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941).

Problem Child (film)

Problem Child is a 1990 American comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan and produced by Robert Simonds. It stars John Ritter, Michael Oliver, Amy Yasbeck, Gilbert Gottfried, Jack Warden, and Michael Richards.

September (1987 film)

September is a 1987 film written and directed by Woody Allen. The film is modeled on Anton Chekhov's play Uncle Vanya, though the gender roles are often subverted.Allen's intention for September was that it be like "a play on film," hence the great number of long takes and few camera effects. The film does not use Allen as an actor, and is one of his straightforwardly dramatic films. The cast includes Mia Farrow, Sam Waterston, Dianne Wiest, Elaine Stritch, Jack Warden, and Denholm Elliott.

Critical response to September was generally lukewarm.

Shampoo (film)

Shampoo is a 1975 American satirical comedy-drama film written by Robert Towne and Warren Beatty, and directed by Hal Ashby. It stars Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn, Lee Grant, Jack Warden, Tony Bill, and Carrie Fisher in her film debut.

The film is set on Election Day 1968, the day Richard Nixon was first elected as President of the United States, and was released soon after the Watergate scandal had reached its conclusion. The political atmosphere provides a source of dramatic irony, since the audience, but not the characters, are aware of the direction the Nixon presidency would eventually take. However, the main theme of the film is not presidential politics, but sexual politics; it is renowned for its sharp satire of late-1960s sexual and social mores.

The lead character, George Roundy, is reportedly based on several actual hairdressers, including Jay Sebring, Jack Sahakian, and film producer Jon Peters, who is a former hairdresser. Sebring was murdered by Charles "Tex" Watson in 1969. According to the 2010 book Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America by Peter Biskind, the screenwriter Towne based the character on Beverly Hills hairdresser Gene Shacove.

The Sporting Club (film)

The Sporting Club is a 1971 American comedy film directed by Larry Peerce and written by Lorenzo Semple Jr. It is based the 1968 novel The Sporting Club by Thomas McGuane. The film stars Robert Fields, Nicolas Coster, Maggie Blye, Jack Warden, Richard Dysart and William Roerick. The film was released on February 28, 1971, by Embassy Pictures.

The Thin Red Line (1964 film)

The Thin Red Line is a 1964 Cinemascope film directed by Andrew Marton and starring Keir Dullea, Jack Warden, James Philbrook, and Kieron Moore. Based on James Jones's 1962 novel of the same name, the film follows the life of a number of American soldiers during the battle of Guadalcanal.

The black-and-white film was filmed in Spain. Bernard Gordon's screenplay of Jones's work concentrates on the relationship between the young rule-breaking, "survival-at-any-cost", Private Doll (Keir Dullea) and the older veteran 1st Sgt Welsh (Jack Warden).

Another film adaptation of the novel was released in 1998.

The Verdict

The Verdict is a 1982 American legal drama film directed by Sidney Lumet and written by David Mamet from Barry Reed's novel of the same name. It stars Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason, Milo O'Shea, and Lindsay Crouse. In the story, a down-on-his-luck alcoholic lawyer accepts a medical malpractice case to improve his own situation, but discovers along the way that he is doing the right thing.

The Verdict garnered critical acclaim and box office success. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Actor in a Leading Role (Paul Newman), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (James Mason), Best Director (Sidney Lumet), Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay (David Mamet).

The White Buffalo

The White Buffalo is a 1977 western film starring Charles Bronson, Kim Novak, Jack Warden, Slim Pickens and Will Sampson. The film is directed by J. Lee Thompson, who frequently teamed with Bronson. It was also the final film Bronson made for United Artists.

The movie marks the second collaboration between Bronson and director J. Lee Thompson (following 1976's St. Ives).

Used Cars

Used Cars is a 1980 American satirical black comedy film written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale and directed by Zemeckis. Rudy Russo (Kurt Russell) is a devious car salesman working for affable but monumentally unsuccessful used car dealer Luke Fuchs (Jack Warden). Luke's principal rival, located directly across the street, is his more prosperous brother, Roy L. Fuchs (also played by Warden), who is scheming to take over Luke's lot. The film also stars Deborah Harmon and Gerrit Graham, and the supporting cast includes Frank McRae, David L. Lander, Michael McKean, Joe Flaherty, Al Lewis, Dub Taylor, Harry Northup, Dick Miller, and Sarah Wills.

Steven Spielberg and John Milius act as executive producers on the project, while the original musical score was composed by Patrick Williams. Filmed primarily in Mesa, Arizona, the film was released on July 11, 1980.

Although not a box office success at the time, it has since developed cult film status due to its dark, cynical humor and the Zemeckis style. It was marketed with the tagline "Like new, great looking and fully loaded with laughs." It was the only Zemeckis film to be rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America until Flight in 2012.

While You Were Sleeping (film)

While You Were Sleeping is a 1995 American romantic comedy film directed by Jon Turteltaub and written by Daniel G. Sullivan and Fredric Lebow. It stars Sandra Bullock as Lucy, a Chicago Transit Authority token collector, and Bill Pullman as Jack, the brother of a man whose life she saves, along with Peter Gallagher as Peter, the man who is saved, Peter Boyle and Glynis Johns as members of Peter's family, and Jack Warden as longtime family friend and neighbor.

While You Were Sleeping was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $182 million at the box office. Bullock and Pullman received praise for their performances. Bullock also garnered a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical.

You're in the Navy Now

You're in the Navy Now is a Hollywood film released in 1951 by Twentieth Century Fox about the United States Navy in the first months of World War II. Its initial release was titled USS Teakettle. Directed by Henry Hathaway, the film is a comedy starring Gary Cooper as a new officer wanting duty at sea but who is instead assigned to an experimental project without much hope of success.

Filmed in black-and-white aboard PC-1168, an active Navy patrol craft, You're in the Navy Now featured the film debuts of Charles Bronson, Jack Warden, Lee Marvin, and Harvey Lembeck in minor roles as crewmen. Screenwriter Richard Murphy was nominated by the Writers Guild of America for "Best Written American Comedy", basing his script on an article written by John W. Hazard in The New Yorker. Hazard, a professional journalist and naval reservist, had served during World War II as executive officer of the PC-452, a similar craft that served in 1943-44 as a test bed for steam turbine propulsion.

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