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JOHN GARFIELD: DEAD BEFORE HE COULD REACH 40, THE AGE HE BELIEVED ACTORS BECAME GREAT ACTORS. John Garfield was a major movie star during the studio system era. He was an activist and campaigned for a role in Gentleman's Agreement opposite Gregory Peck about anti-Semitism. He won the role. Garfield was himself Jewish. Garfield was ready to join the fight in WWII and showed up only to fail the medical - 4F - like a lot of Hollywood stars did - because of heart problems. But Garfield wanted to contribute to the war effort as best he could and joined Bette Davis in starting Holly