Don Knotts was born Jesse Donald Knotts on July 21, 1924 in Morgantown, West Virginia. His first stint as an entertainer was as a ventriloquist. He briefly attended college, but enlisted in the Army upon WWII. The 19-year-old soldier was assigned to the Special Services Branch where he entertained the troops. Those in charge insisted that most of his work be with Danny, his dummy. Knotts had other plans; so, when they set sail, he left Danny on the beach and reported him missing in action.