Sunday Buzz: Remembering Gene Lebell

About a year ago, I rekindled memories of the Olympic Auditorium.

So it is fitting to pay tribute to Gene Lebell, who died August 9. He was 89.

Depending on your age, Lebell was either a judo champion, wrestler, actor, stuntman, wrestling referee or Olympic Auditorium fixture. His mother, Aileen Eaton, promoted boxing and wrestling at the Olympic.

Gene Lebell interviews Bobo Brazil at the Olympic Auditorium. Photo/Theo Ehret

Lebell won both the heavyweight class and the overall title at the 1954
national American Amateur Union judo championships.

Gene Lebell, judo champion

In 1976, LeBell refereed a match in Tokyo between Muhammad Ali and wrestler Antonio Inoki (pictured above). It was billed a “world martial arts championship” and ended as a draw.

He worked in movies with John Wayne, Elvis Presley, Gene Hackman and James Caan.

There are a couple famous Hollywood stories involving Lebell and his famous headlock.

He was summoned to the set of “The Green Hornet” in 1966 because martial arts expert Bruce Lee was hurting stuntmen on the show. A stunt coordinator asked LeBell to humble Lee.
So LeBell picked Lee up, slung him over his back and ran around the set as Lee shouted, “Put me down or I’ll kill you!” Instead of fighting, Lebell and Lee became friends and shared their different expertise with each other.

A more controversial story involved actor Steven Seagal.

In 1991, LeBell worked as a stunt coordinator on the Aikido documentary “Out for Justice.” Seagal supposedly announced that because of his extensive martial arts training, he was immune to chokes.

Lebell offered to test Seagal’s claim. He reportedly set up the chokehold and when Seagal said, “Go,” Seagal immediately passed out. Lebell told friends the story while Seagal denied it.

“If 30 people are watching, let them talk about it,” Lebell said.

Gene Lebell in an episode of The Bionic Woman

Lebell had 252 stuntman credits and 156 acting credits. But for me he will always be part of the wrestling from the Olympic broadcasts with Dick Lane.

Gene Lebell and Sylvester Stallone

65 thoughts on “Sunday Buzz: Remembering Gene Lebell

  1. Interestingly, nobody has a bad word to say about Lebell —-except Seagal. [And Scott left out a part of that chokehold story —which I’ll let people lookup for themselves]….
    As an aside, it’s obvious Lebell was the inspiration for the Brad Pitt character in Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood —both the film and, even more so, the novel.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The Olympic Auditorium Wrestling days were classic with Dick Lane, and what a cast of wrestling characters to go with it: Mr. Moto, Crazy Luke Graham, Gorilla Monsoon and his manager Wild Red Berry, Bobo Brazil, Ernie Ladd, Mark Lewin with his sleeper hold, and the Assassins Tag Team. The environment in and around the old Olympic Auditorium during the events was filled with interesting people no question about it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Do you remember the telephone number to the Olympic Auditorium? I am just asking. Dick Lane used to say it all the time. Hilarious. I looked it u and it is RI-9-5171, or 213-749-5171.

      Like

  3. So much history attached to the Olympic Auditorium. Boxing going on all the time but Thursday nights were the best. In high school it was where us guys learned to bond around a case of beer and the tv, watching the fights from the Olympic.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Question for our Never Trumper Gabby: I hear a few people repeatedly saying that Trump is a threat to our democracy but they never say why. Do you know why he is such a threat? Asking for a friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cuz, acting on advice from Satan, he donated his salary to government, kept us out of war, secured the border, had record minority employment, respected the founding fathers and the documents they handed down to us….and, here’s the evil clincher, the bastard was working on creating American supply lines to reduce our dependence on China…..
      #MayHeBurnInHellForAllEternity!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh sure MG, the Founding Father’s deliberately ignored a devastating World-Wide pandemic but still found time to golf in Florida.

        On yeah MG, the Founding Father’s called Washington’s Continental soldiers killed in the Revolutionary War “Losers.”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. MG….. You seem to bypass the elephant in the room. Trump’s legacy has and will continue to be judged on his total incompetence in dealing with covid. Death is non-partisan, right?…… Narcissism over empathy!

        Please, name one Bill/Legislation passed by trump and his administration that ACTUALLY helped and aided struggling Americans. I’m taking living, breathing people, not corporate America

        Like

      3. PS….MG…. your Mussolini comment was comical….you sounded confused….just saying!

        #ROLLING-THE-EYES

        Like

      4. Hey BruinRob, can you do us all a favor and give little Brian Stelter a job at the Cerritos McDonald’s where you’re the Assistant to the Manager.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I always vote for neutral; I am a hobo-political guy, a ‘bum’ when it comes to Repubs-Demos’ matters– Although I do pay attention to how both parties take turns neglecting-and-bringing this once-great country to its knees.

      Even for many of his followers, much of the dew has come off the rose we call Trump. But he left his mark on all Americans:

      Because now we observe even 10-year-olds imitating the old man–
      “Hey kid, I wish you did not sit next to me in class. Because you’re ugly. And I bet your mom is a 2-bit whore. Which makes you a little bastard. So I have no choice, ‘You’re fired!’ — Get outta my sight!”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agree 100% when it comes to Trump’s personality. I hear General Patton was much the same type. Not pleasant to be around ….but got the job done. I’d prefer a smooth talker for poetic reasons but here’s the ugly [and it is ugly] truth —-PTA president-types aren’t gonna be able to withstand all the shit Soros money stirs up. “Only a son of a bitch is gonna get us back on track.” Amazingly, New York Times Magazine had an article entitled just that —but it came out before Trump came along —now they’ve disavowed their thesis.
        #ButIt’sStillTrue

        Liked by 1 person

    3. steveg…..The fact that orange Cheeto did not tear down the major guardrails of democracy does not mean that all is well in this country.

      He conned the support of millions of voters in 2020, and even more dangerous, was the fact that most of the cult members still insist on denying the results of the election and weakening non-partisan election administration in many states where they hold legislative majorities.

      The twice impeached guy broke many norms that could have resulted in majorities overturning laws and weakening institutions. It’s possible that had Trump been more experienced in government he could have been able to amass the powers he so wanted to have. But the courts displayed their independence and ability to stand up to the “Big Lie”

      After Rudy and company went on their “Big Lie” crusade. The guardrails held in place the way our Founding Fathers hope they would when tested to the extreme.

      PS…. tell your friend there is a book out called- “Trump’s Threat to Democracy for Dummies”

      #FIGHT ON!

      Like

      1. Gabby, thanks for responding. What do you think it would have been like had the democrats not taken a “not my president” stand and worked with him instead of spending millions of dollars on trying to get rid of him. The “twice impeached” term is such a tell tale as to what the other side of the isle had in mind. Was all the division his fault? Were the mean tweets so bad they had to go to all the trouble they did and not work to better the nation? I for one have always thought that one side offset the other and anyone blaming the other side for all the nations ailments has a very narrow viewpoint and thus is not worth listening to.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Orangeman bad. Don’t ya know?

    Most of these dolts who support biden derive part or all of their income from gov.cheese or NGO’s.

    95% of the people who I run into who support biden are bury your head types with no marketable skills. soros and pelosi apologists.

    Pelosi net worth: $400 million. Ya wonder?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The dems are telling lightheaded repubs to pick someone other than Trump to run in 2024 —-so they can beat him. And some repubs are saying, “okay.”

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      1. Those are RINOs MG, don’t get it twisted now! Which I can’t stand as much as liberal pukes. Only there to line their own pockets. At the detriment and expense, to the people of this country.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Your so-called RINO’s have finally seen the light! They have chosen country over party. This should be a wake-up call for your pathetic ass.

        Trump needs you fools to double-down on donations. He claims that good lawyers are expensive! (he’ll stiff them as usual)

        Like

    2. Interesting!……. Where was your outrage when trump was out golfing every weekend on your dime to the tune of over 150 million?

      #BLIND-EYE!

      Like

      1. Exactly you fucin idiots cry about that and don’t even want to say anything about Biden being on a permanent vacation since he’s been in office, wasting tax payers money in the process. It was only brought up because Trump was president. Stop trying to point the finger the other way,
        Gabby! Some of us know exactly what’s going on. Playing the rules for radicals card by Sal Ilinsky. Blame the opposition or your enemies for the same things you’re doing, to cover your own ass, nice try Gabby. How much money and counting, has Biden and his family wasted tax payers dollars on vacation now? Answer the question being so you went TDS and had to bring up Trump as usual!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. “Defund the FBI” is your new cult member slogan!….. you sound like a fucking hypocrite….pathetic!!!

        Like

  6. Returning back to the subject of the Olympic Auditorium,
    I, never having been a too-brutal-for-me fight fan
    or fake-wrestling fan,
    Instead, vicariously, knew it through my Great-Grandmother–
    She just loved that wrestling, and as a boy I did not know it was fake

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wonder how often “pre-arranged outcomes” occur in professional sports. I’ve seen some awfully strange calls in the final seconds of Big Games….and I’ve seen some beyond goofy decisions in boxing.
      [And…John — I’m catching up to you in civility. I loved boxing up until a year or so ago —now watching somebody hit somebody else isn’t my cup of tea —although I could change my mind if another clever, defensive fighter like Ali came along]…..

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Agree, Mike. OK I call you that, I hate to limit you to just one name. Afterall, half my male friends I call, ‘Buddy,’ or ‘Boss’

        Ali, although I prefer recalling him as Cassius Clay,
        was the one exception because he transcended mere fighting,
        and thrust the science into an art-form.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hear you MG corruption ruins all sports. Especially what you saw or seen with your own eyes and others try to tell you otherwise. People are Blinded by money.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. John –Of course you can call me that! You’re one of the guys here I respect most.
      #AlwaysLovedWorkingWithLawyersLikeYou..
      #SmartLawyersFigureOutTheWayToFairSettlement…
      #[…&Don’tWasteCourtTime&SpaceFeuding]….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha! [Personally I always hated it when one of the well known dumb lawyers came walking into my department —I knew “this is gonna be 5 times harder than it has to be…”]…..

        Liked by 2 people

    3. There you go pointing fingers again. You are the biggest hypocrite on here, it’s so freaking obvious. Stop being a fucin five year old, blaming and pouting, because you get called out on here for nonsense, constantly. Get a clue already, before pointing fingers at anyone else. Coming from an independent who is sick of your diatribes. Go get help for your TDS, lefty lunatic.

      Like

  7. You ever be having a nice conversation going with someone and then the talk turns to politics?– Suddenly, the tenor-and-mood changes to heart-attack-like seriousness.

    This is why the greatest quipping-conversationalist, Johnny Carson,
    once said: If I tell my t.v. audience which political party I belong to,
    half of them will turn me off and switch to another station.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have noticed that, John. I think those basic differences of opinion always stayed under the surface in the past —now the state of the union is bringing them out in the open. I honestly don’t know whether that’s good or bad.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Back in the day, (about 25 years ago), we all were pretty much on the same page. Look at Clinton’s ’96 state of the union address. School choice. Welfare reform to incentivize people to find jobs. Era of big gov’t is over.

        Today, Clinton’s address would be anathema to the Dem party. And today, much of what Reagan preached when he was POTUS would be way out of line with the Repub party.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Holy shit. I guess you can cut across the whole field if you have that kind of quickness. On some of those runs he was actually cutting from the right sideline to the left sideline.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you keep cutting to the outside against bigger faster linebackers and safeties —yeah, you’re gonna get tagged a lot.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. He’s not as big… or quite as fast [4.5 forty] —but he has all the instincts of a top flight runner and he’s a great athlete.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Michael, Raleek ran a verified 4.47 40….as a FRESHMAN. 14 years old.
        Much smaller than Reggie, 5’8″, and probably under 175 lbs.
        A few days ago, I can’t recall where, but I saw an interview with Tui who said something like “Raleek is crazy fast.”

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I can believe that, 67 — he looked faster than 4.5 on that video you posted —not quite as fast as Reggie or Adoree but plenty fast enough…. especially when he gets to the outside and turns it on….

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Michael, you watch that video and you see a guy who looks to be somewhere in the 4.3 range.

        While it is pretty much impossible to compare guys via videos, that said, Raleek doesn’t look to me like he is slower or less quick than Reggie. But OTOH, Reggie was 4 inches taller and weighed probably 30 more pounds.

        In any case, Raleek could become one of the most explosive guys in college football. And totally agree it will be a lot more demanding at the college level, given how he runs, just like it was for Reggie when he went to the NFL.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Like Reggie, Raleek has NFL skills cuz he’s got good hands and, though he’s been underutilized in this capacity, makes yards catching —I read the evaluations done on him and most everybody sees him as a first rounder.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. IMO……the best 5′-8″ 175 guy coming out of HS was Napoleon “Nip” Kaufman. He proved himself at WA. and had a long productive NFL career.

      When I lived in Santa Barbara I was able to see him play in person numerous times

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Kaufman! So hard to stop! Such a pain in the ass for USC.
        #SoGabbyIsASantaBarbaraGuy?!
        #IHaveLotsOfRelativesThere…
        #StateStreet,ThePier,TheArtMuseum,TheZoo,TheMission!

        Like

  8. Best HS player in the country!

    ?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1560834998789341184%7Ctwgr%5E39756808b6d92e131bcab3c464df68bc0b114943%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Freignoftroy.com%2Fposts%2Fusc-football-five-star-qb-commit-dominates-season-opener-malachi-nelson

    Liked by 2 people

    1. He had a great game on Friday night. My youngest and I watched that first half, then tuned into Bosco to watch Zacharia. Some of Malachi’s yardage came after the catch, but still, he has a really quick release, sees the field well and makes the correct throw.

      Timing couldn’t be better, as he can redshirt and learn his first year, then he will be in the driver’s seat for the ’24 season.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. USC is very fortunate to have Caleb Williams driving them out of the doldrums of the Helton years. But I see Nelson making us forget about Williams in a short period of time. If all holds true and he performs I see the Heisman and a 1st round pick. Not that Williams won’t go first round, but I do believe Nelson is the guy than get USC a championship.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. After watching numerous videos of Nelson, what stands out most to me is his release. The arm strength and extremely quick release(Rodgers-esque) are at another level compared to the other HS QB’S from around the country.

        Plus, being 6′-4″ and athletic gives me the reassuring feel that USC will be sound at the QB position for the next 4 to 5 years

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I live in Las Vegas and wasn’t able to find any HS games on Cox. Are you using a streaming service or was it a cable channel?

        The first big national match-up is this coming Friday- #2 Mater Dei @ #6 Bishop Gorman. Just bought my ticket, it’s going to be a sellout

        Liked by 1 person

      4. We used to get high school games on Fridays on Fox sports, and occasionally on espn. Usually in So. Cal there were game on local tv channels as well. Now that we don’t live there we get one, maybe two games over the weekend (high school).

        Liked by 2 people

      5. My son found it on Youtube, both games were broadcast live-streamed. Halftime is literally all commercials with these games, so a good time to fire up the grill.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Would like to have met him along with at least 10,000 other wonderful
      men-and-women who lived throughout world history
      Maybe in the next life we all get our chance.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Trump did some good things, messed up quite a few things. Obama, Bush, Clinton had their good and bad moments as well. What everyone misses here that the demonizing and lack of politeness has created a vacuum for building on the legacy which allowed this country to become the best in the world. Everyone claims to be right at the expense of being agreeable. Sooner or later, we will be forced to work together to say enough at the Machiavelli approach in our society.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I would recommend all politicians reading Niccolo’s ideas of the necessity of deceit in their line of work, except most politicians could probably write their own books on the subject.

        Liked by 1 person

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