A Wyoming War Hero Became A Hollywood Stunt Double
In 1923, Paul Baxley was born in Casper, Wyoming. After his family moved, Paul became a star quarterback at a Los Angeles High School. The fun still hadn’t even started for a charmed life as military hero turned Hollywood stunt double.
A Marine Scout and Sniper with the 4th Division in World War II, Baxley fought on Iwo Jima, Saipan and Tinian. He received Two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, and a letter of commendation from the President of the United States.
After the War, he went to college and was an All-American quarterback. Baxley met Richard Talmadge who, at the time, was the most successful Stunt Coordinator in motion pictures.
Baxley’s movie star looks were a fit for doubling some of the biggest stars in Hollywood. He worked with many big names like James Dean, Alan Ladd and Marlon Brando. Baxley and Brando eventually became best friends and stayed close until Marlon passed away in 2004.
Baxley turned out to be one of the most successful Stunt Coordinators and Second Unit directors for decades. He also directed several episodes of T.H.E. Cat and The Dukes of Hazzard, but "trekkies" will always remember Baxley for his work as a stunt coordinator on the original Star Trek series. .
Along with his contributions to the television and film industry, Baxley's best roles came in the service to his country. Living into his upper 80s, Paul Reginald Baxley died on March 4, 2011.