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Ron Kovic Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trivia (4)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (2)

Born in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, USA
Birth NameRonald Lawrence Kovic

Mini Bio (1)

Imagine having Tom Cruise play your life story in a movie, and ending up on stage in Hollywood celebrating the movie's two Oscars? All Ron Kovic had to do to achieve this fantasy was serve three tours of duty in Vietnam, get paralyzed for life by combat wounds, and write a best-selling book about it all.

A war veteran turned antiwar-activist, Kovic turned his 1976 autobiography, "Born on the Fourth of July", into the eponymous film with the help of fellow Vietnam vet Oliver Stone. The son of a grocery clerk and a housewife, Kovic grew up in the Midwest and New York's suburban Massapequa, Long Island. In high school he competed as a wrestler and pole vaulter, and after graduation hoped to play major league baseball. But he enlisted in the Marines in 1964, in the early days of the Vietnam war, after the assassination of President Kennedy and inspired by the speech of a Marine recruiter. His gung-ho Marine patriotism was undermined by two incidents - one in which he feared he had accidentally killed a fellow Marine in the chaos of combat, and another in which Vietnamese children were unintentionally wounded in a night assault. These incidents made him so desperate he was relieved when he was wounded by gunfire. But a subsequent bullet tore into Kovic's spine and paralyzed him from the chest down. Kovic returned to the States in 1968 and was awarded a Bronze Star for heroism and a Purple Heart, as he received extensive medical care. He began college studies a year later, but landed in a rundown veterans hospital after an accident. The horrible conditions in the hospital turned his increasing despair into outrage over what he felt was America's betrayal of Vietnam veterans and he began to seriously question the government's conduct of the war itself.

Following the killings of student protestors by National Guardsman at Kent State College in 1970, Kovic joined the Vietnam Veterans against the War and transformed himself into a pro-active anti-war supporter. During the 1972 Republican Party convention, Kovic and some fellow vets in wheelchairs succeeded in disrupting President Nixon's televised acceptance speech, an event he considers one of the highlights of his activist years, which also included protests against nuclear-power plants, American interference in Central America and the too-often inferior medical treatment of war veterans.

Kovic seems to have served as the basis for Jon Voight's war-veteran-turned-anti-war activist in Coming Home (1978). He served as a writer in residence at State University of New York at Stonybrook in 1983 and later moved to Redondo Beach, California. Here he considered a career in politics, but eventually rejected a Democratic Party request that he run for Congress in 1990.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Trivia (4)

He gave Tom Cruise his Bronze star as a birthday present in 1990.
He and director Oliver Stone wrote much of the script together at a cafe in Venice, CA.
Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". New Revision Series, vol. 135, pages 224-228. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2005.
His nephew, Adam Kovic, is part of a YouTube gaming collective called Funhaus.

Personal Quotes (1)

I am the living death, a Memorial Day on wheels. I am your Yankee Doodle Dandy, your John Wayne come home, your Fourth of July firecracker exploding in the grave.

See also

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