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Capt. Marshall Beebe, Flier, War Hero, Dies

March 22, 1991|LILY ENG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEWPORT BEACH — U.S. Navy Capt. Marshall U. Beebe, a war hero who served as a technical adviser on the popular film "The Bridges of Toko-Ri" died here at age 77 Monday after a long illness.

The World War II fighter pilot's medals included the Navy Cross, the Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Beebe received a Purple Heart in 1943 after he was injured when the USS Liscomb Bay was sunk by enemy fire. Local papers at the time reported how Beebe managed to escape the burning ship by clinging to a rope and climbing off the side into the icy waters of the Pacific Ocean.

In the 1950s, Beebe, then heading an air squadron aboard the amphibious assault ship Essex, met author James Michener. The novelist was so taken by Beebe's exploits that he dedicated his best-selling book "The Bridges of Toko-Ri" to him. When the book was later made into a movie staring William Holden, Mickey Rooney and Grace Kelly, Beebe was hired by the studio as a technical adviser.

He is survived by two sisters, Rosalind La Grandeur of Santa Barbara and Winifred Donaldson of Irvine, and a brother, Dr. H. Keith Beebe of Philadelphia.

A memorial service will be held Tuesday at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach.

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