|Above, George Reeves, Noel Neill and Gene LeBell on tour in 1957.|
"The Godfather of Grappling" Gene LeBell is celebrating his 83rd birthday today.
I met Gene last year at the Superman Celebration luncheon at the Beverly Garland Hotel in Studio City and had a great time listening to his stories of his career and his friendship with George Reeves while dining with him.
|Above, Gene LeBell and Armand at the Superman Celebration luncheon last year.|
I told him that my dad met Reeves at a gym where Reeves was practicing judo and my dad boxed. I told him I've been trying to pinpoint the gym where the meeting occurred. He remembers Reeves frequented a gym on Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles.
According to Jim Nolt:
October 9, 1932: Gene LeBell was born in Los Angeles, CA. Gene was a close friend of George Reeves and Bruce Lee. Known as "the Godfather of Grappling" and also as "the toughest man alive," he has taught grappling skills to many well-known wrestlers and martial artists.Happy Birthday, Gene!