Forrest Tucker, best known to the Baby Boom generation as Sergeant O’Rourke on the classic TV sitcom “F Troop” (1965), was born on February 12, 1919, in Plainfield, Indiana. He began his performing career at age 14 at the 1933 Chicago “Century of Progress” World’s Fair, pushing big wicker tourists’ chairs by day and singing at night. His family moved to Arlington, Virginia, where he attended Washington-Lee High School in 1938. Big for his age, as a youth Tucker was hired by the Old Gayety Burlesque Theater in Washington, DC, to serve as a Master of Ceremonies for the Burly-cue after consecutively winning the Saturday night amateur contests. He was fired when it was found out that he was underage. He was rehired when he turned 18.
After graduating from high school in 1938, the 6’5", 200-lb. Tucker played semi-pro football in the Washington, DC, area. He also enlisted in the National Guard and was assigned to a cavalry unit in Ft. Myers, Virginia. He started at the top when he… read more