Mar 31, 2015

Gene LeBell

Gene LeBell (b. 1932) has a well deserved reputation as "the toughest man alive." Gene's mother, Aileen Eaton, was the owner of the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles where Gene learned wrestling from Ed "Strangler" Lewis and Lou Thesz. He was a professional wrestler before becoming a stuntman. He has had screen fights with stars like Elvis Presley, Clint Eastwood, Jim Brown, and Bruce Lee. Gene was a member of the Stuntmen's Association before moving over to Stunts Unlimited.

Below: "Judo" Gene won the A.A.U. National Judo Championships (both heavyweight and overall) in 1954 and 1955. In 1963, Gene participated in the first televised mixed martial arts contest. In that bout, Gene choked out boxer Milo Savage in the fourth round.

Below: Gene played Mr. Kryptonite when George Reeves (left) made public appearances as Superman. Also pictured: Noel Neill, who played Lois Lane.

Below: Gene (right) appeared on "The Jack Benny Show" (with Jack playing the referee). On the left is "Count" Billy Varga.

 Below: Gene was in "4 for Texas" (1963) starring Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. To Gene's right are stuntmen Charles Picerni, Hal Needham, and Paul Stader.

Below: Gene with Fred Gwynne, who is in costume as Herman Munster.

Below: Gene in a funny scene with Eddie Murphy in "The Golden Child" (1986).

Below: Gene is a friend and mentor to champion MMA fighter, Ronda Rousey.

 Below: Gene appeared with Bruce Lee in the "Ironside" episode, "Tagged for Murder" (1967)