Gene LeBell

Stuntman


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-and-half hour Archive interview, Gene LeBell talks about his childhood interest in judo and boxing that eventually led to his career as a stuntman in movies and television. He speaks about his early work in television on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Lassie (in which he fought a bear), and The Jack Benny Show. He also discusses his work on action series of the 1960s, 1970s, and beyond, including The Green Hornet, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Baretta, The Six Million Dollar Man, and The Dukes of Hazzard. LeBell outlines the craft of stunt work including descriptions of falls, fire stunts, and stunt driving. Among the television series LeBell details are: The Adventures of Superman (in which he worked closely with George Reeves), Batman, and The Fall Guy. Karen Herman conducted the interview on September 10, 2003 in Sherman Oaks, CA. 

"The person who enjoys the work never goes to work."

Highlights
Gene LeBell on a stunt he did on The Adventures and Ozzie and Harriet, and Ozzie Nelson's interest in safety
01:35
Gene LeBell on an incident during a Dukes of Hazzard shoot, in an episode where he played a villain
02:19
Gene LeBell on stunt work on The Green Hornet with Bruce Lee
02:44
Gene LeBell on stunts he won't do and stunts he'd like to do
04:29
Gene LeBell on essential qualities for a stuntperson
01:19
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his mother being a boxing promoter; on boxing during his youth; on his autobiography "The Toughest Man In The World"
On boxing and wrestling matches at the Olympic Auditorium run by his mother; on his childhood aspirations and studying animal husbandry
On getting drafted during the Korean War and joining The Coast Guard; on competing in the 1954 Judo Nationals

Chapter 2

On being stationed in Long Beach and becoming a cook; on sneaking out of the Coast Guard to be Gorgeous George's second in a match
On toying with a professional wrestling career; on winning the 1955 Judo Nationals; on what drew him to judo
On his early memories of television; on early televised wrestling and boxing matches
On how he got into stunt work

Chapter 3

On enjoying his time at home; on a stunt he did on The Adventures and Ozzie and Harriet, and Ozzie Nelson's interest in safety
On fighting a bear on an episode of Lassie (in which he got hurt); on the lack of early safety regulations for stunt people
On his specialty in stunts; on still getting calls for work; on early stunts he was asked to do
On his stunt work on the television and film versions of Batman; on loving his work
On tips for stunt wotk; on teaching judo; on stunt bags and supplies

Chapter 4

On his stunt work for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
On how blue and green screens have changed the stunt profession; on stunt work on The Beverly Hillbillies and The Jack Benny Program; on contemplating being an actor
On an incident during a Dukes of Hazzard shoot, in an episode where he played a villain; on stunt work on Burke's Law, The Munsters, and The Wackiest Ship in the Army
On doubling for certain actors again and again; on his fellow stuntmen and their talents
On stuntwomen and men doubling for women

Chapter 5

On doing stunts for black actors; on stunt work on The Green Hornet with Bruce Lee
On his experiences doing public appearances with Adventures of Superman star George Reeves, and his doubt that Reeves committed suicide (as was officially determined)
On failing to win a bit part on Little House on the Prairie because it required "acting," yet having to train the actor who got the part to do the stuntwork
On coordinating stunts; on stunt work on I Spy, The Six Million Dollar Man, Starsky and Hutch, Baretta, Laverne & Shirley, and Fantasy Island

Chapter 6

On stunt work on Taxi, usually as a referee during one of Tony Danza's boxing matches
On working with stunt coordinator Mickey Gilbert on The Fall Guy
On stunt work on Magnum, P.I., Macgyver, and Married...With Children; on his success
On different types of stunts - high falls, stunt driving, pratfalls, stair falls and fistfights

Chapter 7

On how he prepares for fistfight stunts; on fire stunts
On stunts he won't do and stunts he'd like to do; on injuries from stunt work
On insurance issues for stuntmen; on films he's done stunt work for; on essential qualities for a stuntperson; on how he's credited
Shows

Adventures Of Ozzie and Harriet, The

View Show Page
Gene LeBell on a stunt he did on The Adventures and Ozzie and Harriet, and Ozzie Nelson's interest in safety
01:35

Adventures of Superman

View Show Page
Gene LeBell on his experiences doing public appearances with Adventures of Superman star George Reeves, and his doubt that Reeves committed suicide (as was officially determined)
10:14

Baretta

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Gene LeBell on stunt work on Baretta and working with Robert Blake
01:02

Batman

View Show Page
Gene LeBell on his stunt work on the television and film versions of Batman
02:36
Gene LeBell on working with guest stars like Frank Gorshin ("The Riddler") on Batman
00:54

Beverly Hillbillies, The

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Gene LeBell on his stunt work for The Beverly Hillbillies
01:14

Burke's Law

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Gene LeBell on stunt work with Gene Barry on Burke's Law
00:43

Charlie's Angels

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Gene LeBell on stunt work on Charlie's Angels
00:15

Dukes of Hazzard, The

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Gene LeBell on an incident during a Dukes of Hazzard shoot, in an episode where he played a villain
02:19

Fall Guy, The

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Gene LeBell on working with stunt coordinator Mickey Gilbert on The Fall Guy
04:19

Fantasy Island

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Gene LeBell on stunt work on Fantasy Island
01:22

Green Hornet, The

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Gene LeBell on stunt work on The Green Hornet with Bruce Lee
02:44

I Spy

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Gene LeBell on stunt work on I Spy and working with Robert Culp
02:00

Jack Benny Program, The

View Show Page
Gene LeBell on a stunt/dialogue scene he did on The Jack Benny Program with Count Billy Varga in 1962, and his experience working with Benny
02:45

Lassie

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Gene LeBell on fighting a bear on an episode of Lassie (in which he got hurt)
04:16

Laverne & Shirley

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Gene LeBell on stunt work on Laverne & Shirley
00:37

Little House on the Prairie

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Gene LeBell on failing to win a bit part on Little House on the Prairie because it required "acting," yet having to train the actor who got the part to do the stuntwork
02:48

MacGyver

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Gene LeBell on stunt work on MacGyver
00:42

Magnum, P. I.

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Gene LeBell on stunt work with Magnum P.I. lead Tom Selleck 
01:05

Married… With Children

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Gene LeBell on stunt work on Married... With Children
36:48

Munsters, The

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Gene LeBell on stunt work with Fred Gwynne on The Munsters
01:23

Six Million Dollar Man, The

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Gene LeBell on stunt work on The Six Million Dollar Man and working with Lee Majors
02:05

Starsky and Hutch

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Gene LeBell on stunt work on Starsky and Hutch
02:05

Taxi

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Gene LeBell on stunt work on Taxi, usually as a referee during one of Tony Danza's boxing matches
05:14

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

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Gene LeBell on the stunt work done for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
02:04

Wackiest Ship in the Army, The

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Gene LeBell on stunt work doubling Jack Warden on The Wackiest Ship in the Army
01:46

Wagon Train

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Gene LeBell on how he and George Reeves would have been cast on Wagon Train had Reeves lived
06:28
Topics

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Gene LeBell on doing stunts for black actors
01:32

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Gene LeBell on getting drafted during the Korean War and joining The Coast Guard
06:38
Gene LeBell on doing stunts for black actors
01:32

Korean War

View Topic
Gene LeBell on getting drafted during the Korean War and joining The Coast Guard
06:38

Minorities

View Topic
Gene LeBell on doing stunts for black actors
01:32

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Gene LeBell on how blue and green screens have changed the stunt profession
02:16

War

View Topic
Gene LeBell on getting drafted during the Korean War and joining The Coast Guard
06:38
Professions

Performers

View Profession
Gene LeBell on how he got into stunt work
02:06
Gene LeBell on the lack of early safety regulations for stunt people
01:40
Gene LeBell on his specialty in stunts and the background necessary for the profession
01:48
Gene LeBell on early stuntwomen and men doubling for women
03:07
Gene LeBell on coordinating stunts
01:58
Gene LeBell on different types of stunts - high falls, stunt driving, pratfalls, stair falls and fistfights
13:36
Gene LeBell on preparations for stunt fistfights and fire stunts
06:55
Gene LeBell on stunts he won't do and stunts he'd like to do
04:29
Gene LeBell on essential qualities for a stuntperson
01:19
Gene LeBell on how he's credited a stuntperson
04:53

Stunt Performer/Stunt Supervisor/Stunt Coordinator

View Profession
Gene LeBell on how he got into stunt work
02:06
Gene LeBell on the lack of early safety regulations for stunt people
01:40
Gene LeBell on his specialty in stunts and the background necessary for the profession
01:48
Gene LeBell on early stuntwomen and men doubling for women
03:07
Gene LeBell on coordinating stunts
01:58
Gene LeBell on different types of stunts - high falls, stunt driving, pratfalls, stair falls and fistfights
13:36
Gene LeBell on preparations for stunt fistfights and fire stunts
06:55
Gene LeBell on stunts he won't do and stunts he'd like to do
04:29
Gene LeBell on essential qualities for a stuntperson
01:19
Gene LeBell on how he's credited a stuntperson
04:53
Genres

Adventure/Espionage Series

View Genre
Gene LeBell on his stunt work on the television and film versions of Batman
03:30
Gene LeBell on his experiences doing public appearances with Adventures of Superman star George Reeves, and his doubt that Reeves committed suicide (as was officially determined)
10:14

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Gene LeBell on a stunt/dialogue scene he did on The Jack Benny Program with Count Billy Varga in 1962, and his experience working with Benny
02:45

Sports

View Genre
Gene LeBell on early televised wrestling and boxing matches
03:02
People

Muhammad Ali

View Person Page
Gene LeBell on refereeing one of Muhammad Ali's fights
01:24

Gene Barry

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Gene LeBell on stunt work with Gene Barry on Burke's Law
00:43

Jack Benny

View Person Page
Gene LeBell on a stunt/dialogue scene he did on The Jack Benny Program with Count Billy Varga in 1962, and his experience working with Benny
02:45

Robert Blake

View Person Page
Gene LeBell on stunt work on Baretta and working with Robert Blake
01:02

Robert Culp

View Interview Page
Gene LeBell on stunt work on I Spy and working with Robert Culp
02:00

James Garner

View Interview Page
Gene LeBell on working as James Garner's stunt-double
02:32

Gorgeous George

View Person Page
Gene LeBell on his mother inventing the stage name "Gorgeous George"
01:07
Gene LeBell on sneaking out of the Coast Guard to be Gorgeous George's second in a match
03:53

Mickey Gilbert

View Person Page
Gene LeBell on working with stunt coordinator Mickey Gilbert on The Fall Guy
04:19

Frank Gorshin

View Person Page
Gene LeBell on working with guest stars like Frank Gorshin ("The Riddler") on  Batman
00:54

Fred Gwynne

View Person Page
Gene LeBell on stunt work with Fred Gwynne on The Munsters
01:23

Bruce Lee

View Person Page
Gene LeBell on stunt work on The Green Hornet with Bruce Lee
02:44

Lee Majors

View Person Page
Gene LeBell on stunt work on The Six Million Dollar Man and working with Lee Majors
02:55

Ozzie Nelson

View Person Page
Gene LeBell on a stunt he did on The Adventures and Ozzie and Harriet, and Ozzie Nelson's interest in safety
01:35

George Reeves

View Person Page
Gene LeBell on his experiences doing public appearances with Adventures of Superman star George Reeves, and his doubt that Reeves committed suicide (as was officially determined)
10:14

Ronnie Rondell, Jr.

View Person Page
Gene LeBell on a stunt/dialogue scene he did on The Jack Benny Program with Count Billy Varga in 1962, and his experience working with Benny
02:45

Tom Selleck

View Person Page
Gene LeBell on working with Magnum P.I. lead Tom Selleck 
01:05

O. J. Simpson

View Person Page
Gene LeBell on working with O.J. Simpson
00:52

Herve Villechaize

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Gene LeBell on stunt work on Fantasy Island
01:22

Jack Warden

View Person Page
Gene LeBell on stunt work doubling Jack Warden on The Wackiest Ship in the Army
01:46

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