Paul Stader

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Paul B. Stader
Born (1911-02-13)February 13, 1911
Neosho, Missouri, U.S.
Died April 10, 1991(1991-04-10) (aged 80)
Malibu, Los Angeles County, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor; Stuntman
Years active 1937-1991
Spouse(s) Marilyn Stader (1956-1991) (his death)
Children Paul Stader

Paul B. Stader, sometimes known as Manny Stader (February 13, 1911 – April 10, 1991),[1] was an American actor best known for having performed stunts for Johnny Weissmuller, Lex Barker, Gregory Peck, and John Wayne. He was also the underwater director of the 1978 film The Return of Captain Nemo.[2]

Working with Weismuller and Barker[edit]

Stader was born and reared in Neosho, Missouri. He came to Los Angeles, to attempt to enter the 1932 Olympic Games. Though he did not make the team, he struck up important friendships with Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe. They encouraged him to take the lifeguard examination in Santa Monica. He earned $5 per day as a guard. Thereafter, studio executives spotted him on a pier and determined that he would make an excellent double for the actor Jon Hall in the 1937 film The Hurricane. He was soon the personal trainer and stuntman for Weissmuller, for whom he doubled in the 1942 film Tarzan Triumphs and in the 1955 television series Jungle Jim, based on a popular comic strip about the hunter, guide, and explorer Jim Bradley.[3]

In the Jungle Jim films, Stader doubled for Weissmuller by diving, running, swinging, and fighting for him, and even substituting for him atop an elephant. He also mastered the difficult task of wrestling with animals, including alligators.[3]

Stader described Weissmuller, accordingly:

He was a generous, really nice fellow. I was always his stuntman. We would exercise together because he'd have to weigh 192 pounds before each picture started. So he and I would begin working out about three or four months before, paddling a board, swimming every day, that sort of thing. I got paid by the studio, and I also got a check from Weissmuller, so it was pretty good money for those days.[3]

Stader also doubled for Lex Barker, when he replaced Weismuller in the Tarzan films, and the two men became good friends. The weekend before Barker's death in 1972, he had visited Stader at the Stader home in Malibu, California, and complained of chest pains. Stader made Barker promise to consult a physician. Barker saw a doctor in New York City but shortly afterwards collapsed on a street and died.[3]

In June 1954, two of Stader's friends vanished off the coast of Catalina Island when their speed boat sank eleven miles from the island. Stader swam for nine hours to shore to summons help, but his companions, considered excellent swimmers too, were never found by the United States Coast Guard.[3]

Stader also did stunts for Ben Johnson in the 1949 film Mighty Joe Young. He had to fall from the second floor of a burning building, landed improperly, and broke both heels.[3] In 1950, Strader was cast as "Killer" Lawson in the Superman serial in the film, Atom Man vs. Superman.[2] He did stunts for John Wayne in the 1963 film McLintock! and for Gregory Peck, who portrayed Captain Ahab, in the 1956 picture Moby Dick, based on the Herman Melville novel.[2]

Television appearances[edit]

Between 1958 and 1959, Stader appeared in different roles in six episodes of the syndicated television series State Trooper, set in the American West of the 1950s and starring Rod Cameron. That same season, he guest starred five times in different roles on Lloyd Bridges’s syndicated Sea Hunt series. In 1960, he appeared once on Rod Cameron’s subsequent syndicated detective series COronado 9. He appeared twice on Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre, as Crane in the 1958 episode "Three Days to Death" and as a farmer in the 1960 segment "The Man from Yesterday".[2]

He appeared twice in 1963 on ABC's science fiction series, The Outer Limits in episodes entitled "Nightmare" and "Tourist Attraction". In 1964, he guest starred as Rankin in the "The Link Cheney Story" of ABC's Wagon Train. His co-stars in the episode were Yvonne Craig, Charles Drake, Pippa Scott, Tom Simcox, and Harry von Zell.In 1968, he was cast as an unnamed slave in the episode "Bread and Circuses" of the NBC science fiction series, Star Trek. In 1969, he appeared in a minor role in "A Pinch of Salt" episode of NBC's Daniel Boone, starring Fess Parker.[2]

Later stunt roles[edit]

After his acting roles ended, Stader continued performing stunts into the 1980s, having worked on such other films as d, Demetrius and the Gladiators, Giant, Our Man Flint, Tobruk, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Blazing Saddles, The Great Waldo Pepper, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, and a 1985 television movie of Alice in Wonderland.[2]

Stuntman Ted Batchelor (born 1959), originally from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and a Guinness record holder, visited Stader's Malibu home and set himself on fire. Such stunts were later declared illegal in many places. Batchelor said that Stader, from whom he sought advice regarding stunts, "was the nicest man I ever met in the industry."[4]

Stader died in Malibu at the age of eighty. He was survived by his wife, Marilyn M. Stader (born 1929).[5]


  1. ^ "Social Security Death Index". Retrieved January 16, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Paul Stader". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved January 16, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Paul Stader (1911-1991)". Retrieved January 16, 2010. 
  4. ^ "The Story of Ted Batchelor". Retrieved January 19, 2010. 
  5. ^ People Search and Background Check

External links[edit]