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Joining the Marines Taught This Actor ‘What Sacrifice Was Really Like’

David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons

Joining the Marines Taught This Actor ‘What Sacrifice Was Really Like’

By Movieguide® Staff

LANSKY actor Harvey Keitel may be known for his work on the big screen, but his most life-changing role came when he was just a teenager.

“The Marine Corps was one experience along my own particular path. I had to do what I did. I couldn’t do otherwise. What was it that the guy said, ‘Why’d you climb that mountain?’ And the answer was ‘Because it’s there.’ Sounds corny, but nevertheless it’s somewhere in that area,” Keitel said.

The 82-year-old actor joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1956 after dropping out of school.

“When I joined the Marines, I was 17 years old, that that was a [life] changer,” he told Fox News.

“For me the Marine Corps was a spiritual journey,” Keitel said. “It’s not about war.”

During his three years of service, Keitel encountered lessons that would never leave him.

“It taught me how to endure, taught me how to endure hardships, it taught me what real camaraderie was like. It taught me what sacrifice was really like and what loyalty was,” he said.

After he left the Marines, Keitel took those same skills and applied them to the entertainment industry.

“I do know there were times I had a difficult time getting work,” Keitel recalled in 2016. “Many difficult times. But I got through it. I made the effort. I have an 11-year-old son. I’m always telling him: make the effort and you’ll always wind up in the right place. That’s all anyone can ask of you.”

Even though Keitel has more than 100 credits to his name, he says he’s not done working yet.

“I’ll let the divine decide when I retire,” he said.