Born in 1905 in North Platte, Neb., Brown was the godson of Wild West folk hero "Buffalo Bill" Cody, who often let the boy sit on his lap and tug his beard. Brown moved with his family to Council Bluffs, Iowa, after his father _ a railroad engineer _ died when a locomotive engine exploded.
He studied dentistry at Creighton University in the 1920s and was called to active duty in 1937, leaving behind a wife, children and a decade-old dental practice his war injuries prevented him from resuming.
By the time the war ended in 1945, the 40-year-old Brown was nearly blind, had weathered a broken back and neck and suffered through more than a dozen diseases including malaria, dysentery and dengue fever.
He took two years to mend, and a doctor told him to enjoy the next few years because he had been so decimated he would be dead by 50. But Brown soldiered on, moving to California, attending college again and renting out properties to the era's biggest Hollywood stars, including Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland. He became friends with John Wayne and Roy Rogers, doing some screen tests along the way.
"I think he had seen so much horror that after the war, he was determined to enjoy his life," Moore said.
What a story. It is amazing what determination can accomplish.
Rest in peace Dr. Brown.