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Husband tries to keep Secret from New Wife

as originally posted on

And during his 25 years of service, Major Dunagan was able to keep that fragment of his life close to his heart.
But it was in 1977 when he began to worry that his secret would no longer be his.
“If Disney does this to me, I can just see gunnery sergeants and captains writing home and saying, ‘Dear Mom, guess who my [commanding officer] is?’”


Dunagan had an established career with the Marines. He was once the youngest drill instructor in the history of the service, he received three Purple Hearts, he was tapped to serve as a counterintelligence specialist in the heart of the Cold War, and much more.
Not that he was ashamed of his childhood; if you ask Dunagan, he had a blast working for Walt Disney.
“When Bambi is kissed by a doe, he gives a look of disgust. We spent an hour on that look,” he remembers. “’Look like something bad has happened,’ they’d say. But I was having the time of my life. Finally someone said, ‘Pretend like you just had castor oil.’ That did it.”

But it was the advice from “strong” World War II Marine veterans that prompted him to keep his early years a secret.
“If you achieve things, if you have the luck to have done some significant things, don’t talk about it,” he tells Jake Hamilton.

You don’t need to show off to be a leader and that stuck with Dunagan.
Donnie Dunagan, who played Peter in Son of Frankenstein (1939), was born on this day in 1934.

— Classic Monsters (@ScreenMonsters) August 16, 2015
So he tucked that part of his life away. In fact, Dunagan was married to his wife for 2 years before she ever found out about his childhood.

When she found a box full of movie memorabilia, she made him “eat peanut butter for a week,” Dunagan joked.
I interviewed Donnie Dunagan – IT’S SO GREAT.
Now the retired Marine Major enjoys looking back on his childhood and his time spent with Walt Disney and his crew. He is very proud of everything he has achieved.