If you thought Howard Hughes had an interesting life, wait until Hollywood gets interested in Audie Murphy again. The son of penniless sharecroppers, he became the most decorated American combat soldier in all of World War II, with a list of exploits bordering on the preposterous: over two-hundred Germans killed single-handedly, including some, if stories are to be believed, in mano y mano gun duels on scorched battlefields. He also once commandeered an abandoned, burning tank and turned its gun on an advancing Germany squadron, mowing down untold numbers and turning the tide in a ferocious battle.
Returning home as a Life cover boy and a hero, he moved to Hollywood and filmed a truncated version of his own life story. He then became a Western movie star, married an actress, and lived the good life for a while before some bad luck changed his fortunes. He emerged in later life as a major campaigner for the rights of Vietnam War veterans and spoke candidly about suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. His work with veterans administrations in pressuring Congress for more health care benefits was also notable. In 1971, a prop plane shuttling him around on a business trip crumpled into the side of a mountain.