Would you believe that the voice of Bambi went on to become a drill instructor? Not only a drill instructor, but the youngest ever in the Marines. This man turned out to be so tough that he served three tours in Vietnam. So I guess that you are wondering who this Marine drill instructor that voiced Bambi was.
The Marines name was Donnie Dunagan, but when Walt Disney hired him he was only 6 years old. Like many child stars, he was discovered in a talent contest. As it turned out, he was a rather talented young boy. He had quite a successful career that was unfortunately cut short when his family fell apart. Before the family breakdown he had starred in eight movies. The remainder of his childhood was not fun. He spent years in and out of different boarding homes, until he forced a change of circumstances by joining the military.
This move turned out to be a fortunate one for the young Dunagan. He quickly adapted to military life, and before long, the boy who voiced Bambi set the record in becoming the youngest ever Marine drill instructor. But that wasn’t enough for him. As we have already said, he served three tours in Vietnam and was in a leadership position in the military for over 25 years. He was also tough as old boots, earning a Bronze Star and the Purple Heart three times. He retired in 1977 with the rank of Major.
You may be thinking that he got preferential treatment by his superiors for being a famous child actor. This could not be further form the truth. In fact, he kept his past a complete secret from everyone while he was in service. Even after he retired he stayed silent, fearing that he wouldn’t have been taken serious because of it. But he was wrong.
When he was 70, many years after he had retired, he was attending a banquet when a casual comment tipped off some media about his childhood past. Before long the Disney Corporation had got back in contact with him and he was involved in a DVD featurette about the cast from Bambi.
Dunagan now gives the DVD’s away to orphanages and is proud when people call out “Major Bambi.” Clearly this man should be an inspiration and shining example to so many child stars who let it all go to their heads. Did you hear that Justin Bieber?