Prior to World War II, and before his film career, Albert had toured Mexico as a clown and high-wire artist with the Escalante Brothers Circus, but secretly worked for U.S. Army intelligence, photographing German U-boats in Mexican harbors. On September 9, 1942, Albert enlisted in the United States Navy and was discharged in 1943 to accept an appointment as a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat “V” for his actions during the invasion of Tarawa in November 1943, when, as the pilot of a U.S. Coast Guard landing craft, he rescued 47 Marines who were stranded offshore (and supervised the rescue of 30 others), while under heavy enemy machine-gun fire.
From his biography: “Years later, Albert would recollect the heroism displayed by his brothers in arms. In one instance, he found a small group of Marines who were unharmed but lost their weapons when trying to land. Albert offered to take them back to his boat, but they refused and asked to be given something to fight with. He returned later only to discover that they had fallen under enemy fire.
Albert returned to acting once he left the military. His fame reached greater heights than before the war, and his extensive filmography includes “Escape to Witch Mountain,” “Miracle of the White Stallions,” and “You Gotta stay Happy.” Over the course of his career he was awarded an NSFC Award and a Star on the Walk of Fame. Despite his accomplishments in acting, Albert went on record to say that the day he served as a landing craft commander at Tarawa was the accomplishment that meant the most to him. He passed away in 2005 of pneumonia at the age of 99.”