John Litel was never one to sit idly by when the going got tough. When World War I broke out in Europe, he joined the French army because the United States was slow to enter the conflict. He was subsequently twice awarded medals for his service. Upon returning home after the war, he studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and began doing theater, touring the country with stock companies, before relocating to Hollywood. In the early 1930s, he worked for Warner Bros., co-starring in hardboiled dramas like "Black Legion" with Humphrey Bogart, and in "Alcatraz Island." His most notable early work, though, was not in feature films but starring in the historical short films "Give Me Liberty" and "Declaration of Independence," as Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson, respectively. Both films were honored with Academy Awards. In 1940, Litel reteamed with Bogart in the hard-hitting noir "They Drive By Night," a classic of its genre. Although he played his fair share of soldiers, criminals, cops, and all-around tough guys, like many actors working during the heyday of the classic American Western, he saddled up as a cowboy more than once, in "Dodge City," "They Died with Their Boots On" (both starring Errol Flynn), and "The Sons of Katie Elder" with John Wayne. Serial fans, however, will probably remember him best from his role in the "Don Winslow of the Navy" episodes. After over 200 screen appearances, Litel died at age 79.