Ronald Lawrence Kovic is an American anti-war activist, United States Marine Corps veteran and writer who was paralyzed in the Vietnam War. He is best known as the author of the memoir Born on the Fourth of July, which was made into an Academy Award–winning film directed by Oliver Stone, with Tom Cruise playing Kovic.
Kovic received the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay on January 20, 1990, exactly 22 years to the day he was wounded in Vietnam. Ron Kovic was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay. Bruce Springsteen wrote the song "Shut Out the Light" after reading Kovic's memoir and then meeting him. Tom Paxton, the folk singer/political activist, wrote the song "Born on the Fourth of July", which is on his 1977 New Songs from the Briarpatch album, and met Kovic backstage at the Bottom Line Club in New York City the same year. Academy Award winning actress Jane Fonda has stated that Ron Kovic's story was the inspiration for her film Coming Home.