ODE TO BERT LEBARON, HOLLYWOOD STUNTMAN

THE HUMAN RACE  

 

ODE TO MY DAD, A SWASHBUCKLING ACTOR-STUNTMAN


     

 

Buried under piles of paper, I had just found the eulogy I had written for my dad, Bert LeBaron, who had died under mysterious circumstances on a handball court at the Hollywood Y.M.C.A. on March 3, 1956. At his memorial service, Rev. John C. Donnell had read these words before a packed house inside a musty chapel at Callanan mortuary in Hollywood, California:

 

     By instinct I hold back the tears, for I am a man of twenty-three years. And a man should be strong physically and emotionally. That’s what he taught me and that’s what I believe.

     He was my dad. He’s dead now, but his lessons are beginning to come to life. We all make mistakes. But today we remember his good deeds.

     It’s hard to be a poor man and a proud one, too, but he was both.

     A man’s body broken down into the chemical elements is worth 98 cents, but his soul, personality, and experiences with life can’t be bought at any price.

     He had been poor, rich, strong, young, and old. He had seen war, death, life, happiness and misery. He had loved and had been loved. He was truly a man in every sense of the word.

     His friends respected him for himself, not for his material position in life. I loved him for the irrefutable love and respect he gave me. He was warm and understanding. I felt secure in his presence.

     My dad was in the motion picture business for over 35 years. It was his life and he loved it. He was part of Hollywood and Hollywood was part of him. He was always waiting for the “big break” that never came. “Things are quiet now, but wait till next month!” he’d say.

     He was a great athlete, active in sports all of his life. His reflexes and coordination were beyond reproach. I know, because a week before his death, he beat me at handball. He died at the game.

     An adventurous soul and an aged shell cannot survive together in this life. If there is a life beyond death, he will have his young body and will be unburdened once again… I’m grateful to have had a father like Bert LeBaron, Hollywood stuntman.  

 

                          Signed: Boots

    • Carlos Schiebeck
    • March 9th, 2015

    Another good piece abt your dad. He was the kind of guy I wud have liked to know, my kind of man.

    Like

    • Fern Levine
    • March 9th, 2015

    Loved that…

    I have to be brief, because my mother is visiting, and at 89 she has more energy than I do. She’s waiting for me to take her to the mall.

    But 2 things Boots.

    First, I was the same age that you were when I lost my father. Although not a womanizer (that I know of anyway), my father was also quite (shall we just say) “colorful”. He hung around with a bunch of Italian wise guys and he loved the ponies. I’ll just leave it at that for now!

    Second, you look a lot like Bert. I see you in his eyes.

    Love, Fern

    >

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