Friday, June 12, 2015

Cowboys and Animals: Tom Steele and Ivan Tors…Day 163 of Bond 365

I still feel the somberness resulting from the announcement of Lee’s passing and not unlike the feeling of loss after Nimoy’s passing early this year. I have read some lovely stories of individuals who worked with or met Lee and always, the remembrances are of a true gentleman. No surprise of the outpour of sadness that only time can ease.

Actor/Stuntman Tom Steele (second from left)
Tom Steele
Born this day in 1909
W Technologies Gate Guard and as a Stuntman in Diamonds Are Forever

Tom Steele was born Thomas Skeoch in the town of Carluke, Lanarkshire, Scotland. According to his IMDB profile, he worked in steel mills and played polo before becoming a stuntman and actor. He started out in the business as an actor by being cast as “Man at Dance” in The Lone Star Ranger (1930). He starting doing stunts in The Red Rider (1934) and worked simultaneously doing both for about half a century.

Apparently, Steele was highly regarded for his stunt work because usually stuntmen were selected for resembling the particular leading man, however in the instance with Steele, it was the other way around. Stars were selected for their resemblance to Steele, so he could do the stunts. Steele has doubled for famous cowboys Roy Rogers, Clayton Moore, Rod Cameron, and George Montgomery.

Steele’s acting credits reach just over 200 roles and he did an impressive 365 stunt credits!

Ivan Tors
Born this day in 1916
Supplier: Divers & Diving Equipment for Thunderball (1916)

“If we learn to communicate with animals, there is some hope that one day we will learn to communicate with each other,” Ivan Tors (IMDB). I like that, a lot. And judging from the number of photos I found of Tors with animals, I think I would have liked this guy. He also seemed to have his finger in a number of pies: he was a producer, writer, production manager, director, and founded the Ivan Tors Productions. He was an animal trainer, playwright and journalist.

Tors got his start as a writer with MGM after emigrating to the US at the start of World War II. He received credit for an original story for Below the Deadline (1946) and had 23 writing credits. Story Over Tibet (1952) was Tors debut as a producer and produced over 40 projects for television and the big screen. It should not be surprising that many of those projects centered around storylines involving animals. Obviously, he not only talked the walk, but he walked the walk too. 

Below is a documentary on Tors' career:

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