Sutton, Frank Spencer, Sgt

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Signal Corps
Last Primary MOS
232-Switchboard Installer-Repairman Manual
Last MOS Group
Signal Corps (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1943-1946, 293rd Joint Assault Signal Company
Service Years
1943 - 1946


One Service Stripe

Four Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

12 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Navy SA Diane (TWS Admin) Short to remember Sutton, Frank Spencer, Sgt.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Clarksville, TN
Last Address
Beverly Hills, CA

Date of Passing
Jun 28, 1974
Location of Interment
Greenwood Cemetery - Clarksville, Tennessee
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 12, section 188

 Official Badges 

Honorably Discharged WW II

 Unofficial Badges 

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 Ribbon Bar

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
6th Infantry Division
  1943-1946, 6th Infantry Division
  1943-1946, 293rd Joint Assault Signal Company
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1944-1945 Leyte Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of Leyte
  1944-1945 WWII - Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Luzon Campaign (1944-45)
  1945-1945 Luzon Campaign (1944-45)/Battle for Recapture of Bataan
  1945-1945 Luzon Campaign (1944-45)/Battle for Manila
  1945-1946 US Occupation of South Korea
 Colleges Attended 
Peabody CollegeColumbia University
  1947-1949, Peabody College
  1949-1952, Columbia University
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Frank Spencer Sutton (October 23, 1923 June 28, 1974) was an American actor best remembered for his role of Gunnery Sergeant Vince Carter on the CBS television series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. He was born in Clarksville, Tennessee

Military Service 
Sutton tried to join the Navy & Marines, but was turned down for failing to pass the physical, He tried to enlist in every branch of the armed forces but was rejected because of his color-blindness. Finally the the Army accepted him in 1943, he was assigned to a Joint Assault Signal Company, composed of Army and Navy men. Within.18 months he took part in 14 landings in the Pacific, including Leyte, Luzon, Bataan and Corregidor. When the war ended, he was sent I join the occupation forces in Korea, where he wrote, directed and produced ''The Military Government Hour,'' a radio propaganda program.

Acting and Radio Career
Back in Nashville, in 1946, he went to Peabody College and worked at the Community Theater until he moved
to New York in the fall of the year and enrolled at Columbia University to study drama. There he met his future wife, Toby Igler, a graduate student, whom he married in 1949. Sutton left school for a year to tour with "The Barretts of Wimpole Street," in which at 25, he played the father of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The newly wed Mrs. Sutton went along as production assistant. Back in New York, Sutton worked in live TV by day thanks in part to the entree provided by Fred Coe and went to Columbia at night until he got his degree in drama, graduating cum laude.

Another Nashville colleague, director Delbert Mann, gave him what he calls his "first big break" a role in the motion picture "Marty,'' playing one of Marty's pals. This led to other important movie and television roles on both Coasts and eventually to SGT Vince Carter in Gomer Pyle USMC. 

After Frank's famous role as Sgt Carter in 1969 he was part of "The Jim Nabors Hour" A one season varitey hour with Jim Nabors as the host. When that ended he tried a comendy routines in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. He finally went back to his first love of dramatic stage acting and was working around the country in various dinner theaters. 

On June 28, 1974 he died of apparent heart attack while preparing to go on stage in Shreveport, LA at the Beverly Dinner Playhouse. His wife Toby and daughter, Amanda, 10 years old had accompanied him to Shreveport while he was rehearsing for the Comedy Play "Luv" at the time and his son Joseph 20 Years old was in College. 
Other Comments:

Helping Vietnam Troops
During a time 1960's when the military was being opposed verbally and physically, Frank Sutton, put on a one man 25 minute comedy show between the 1966-1967 season of Gomer Pyle, USMC in Vietnam at this own expense. He put on 56 Shows in 8 days for Marine Corps Units as Sergeant Carter. He said having experienced warfare himself, he wanted to bring what pleasure he to the troops in Vietnam. 

He said "his identification was with young fighting guys. I wanted to be part of it. I know what it means to watch a buddy die in a rice paddy with the stink and the filth."

He enjoyed the bringing joy to the troops in Vietnam, He revamped his routine and took it to troops across the USA, focused mostly on those that had come back injured from the war. 

So he instructed his press agent to the schedule cross country visitations to military hospitals, to USO Clubs and Military bases, where he could entertain the the boys. He would perform 40 minute comedy routines at every stop.

For his Voluntary work, the Marine Corps made him a Honorary Sergeant in the Corps. 

In may of 1967 He was made a honorary of Naval Aviator with the rank of colonel in the Texas Navy, by Adm Grady Terry. 

During the final three years of Gomer Pyle, Franks spent an endless number of weekends at military functions, free of charge. And the Servicemen loved it. 

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