Ben Lyon was a U.S. Air Force figure on and off the screen and a star whose career spanned from silent movies to early television.
A star of the epic aviation movie "Hell's Angels" in 1930, Lyon was a real-life U.S. Air Force hero to thousands of Britons during World War II. During the Battle of Britain in the early 1940s, Lyon, a lieutenant colonel, broadcast a popular radio program during the London air raids.
Lyon was considered one of the most handsome actors of the 1920s, and news accounts breathlessly told of his romance with famed Ziegfield Follies star Marilyn Miller. It was not Miss Miller he married, however, but movie actress Bebe Daniels.
Their marriage, often billed as the happiest in the motion picture industry, lasted from 1930 until Miss Daniels' death in 1971. The couple spent most the their married life in England, where they had a highly popular BBC radio show, "Life With the Lyons."
After his return from England, Lyon was a casting director with 20th Century Fox and in that position suggested that a budding starlet named Norma Jean Baker change her name to Marilyn Monroe.