Jack Warden

1920 - 2006

Jack Warden was born John Warden Lebzelter, Jr. on September 18, 1920 in Newark, New Jersey, to Laura M. (Costello) and John Warden Lebzelter. His father was of German and Irish descent, and his mother was of Irish ancestry. Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, at the age of seventeen, young Jack Lebzelter was expelled from Louisville's DuPont Manual High School for repeatedly fighting. Good with his fists, he turned professional, boxing as a welterweight under the name "Johnny Costello", adopting his mother's maiden name. The purses were poor, so he soon left the ring and worked as a bouncer at a night club. He also worked as a lifeguard before signing up with the U.S. Navy in 1938. He served in China with the Yangtzee River Patrol for the best part of his three-year hitch before joining the Merchant Marine in 1941.Though the Merchant Marine paid better than the Navy, Warden was dissatisfied with his life aboard ship on the long convoy runs and quit in 1942 in order to enlist in the U.S. A

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