This page uses content from the Ron Kovic biography page on the English version of Wikipedia and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. This list of authors can be seen in the page history. Rotten Tomatoes disclaims any and all warranties as to the accuracy or reliability of the content.
Ronald L. Kovic (born July 4, 1946) is an anti-war activist who was paralyzed in the Vietnam War. He is best known as the author of the memoir Born on the Fourth of July, which was made into an Academy Award-winning movie directed by Oliver Stone, with Tom Cruise playing Kovic. Kovic received the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay on January 20, 1990, exactly twenty-two years to the day that he was shot and paralyzed in the Vietnam War. He was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. (Ron Kovic and Oliver Stone co-wrote the screenplay for Born on the Fourth of July). During the filming of his autobiography he reconciled with his parents. Bruce Springsteen wrote the song "Shut Out The Light" after reading Kovic's memoir and then meeting him.
Kovic was born in Ladysmith, Wisconsin and grew up in Massapequa, New York.
Kovic is a decorated U.S. Marine who served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War where he was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. In combat on January 20, 1968, he was shot and suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down. He became one of the best known peace activists among the veterans of the war. Kovic has been arrested for political protest twelve times.
In 1974 he led a group of disabled Vietnam Veterans in wheelchairs on a 17-day hunger strike inside the Los Angeles office of Senator Alan Cranston. The veterans protested the "poor treatment in America's Veterans Hospitals" and demanded better treatment for returning veterans, a full investigation of all V.A. facilities and a face to face meeting with head of the V.A. Donald E. Johnson. The strike continuned to escalate until Johnson finally agreed to fly out from Washington, D.C., and meet with the veterans. The hunger strike ended soon after that. Several months later Johnson resigned.
Kovic was a speaker at the 1976 Democratic National Convention, seconding the nomination of draft resister Fritz Efaw for Vice President of the United States.
He is an outspoken critic of the Iraq War. In November 2003, he joined protests in London against the visit of George W. Bush. He was the guest of honor at a reception held for British peacemakers at London's city hall by Mayor Ken Livingstone. The following day, he led a march of several hundred thousand demonstrators on Trafalgar Square where a huge rally was held protesting the visit of George W. Bush and the war in Iraq.
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