Our beloved and fearless Co-Founder Glenn Wilder passed into the golden horizon on July 7th, 2017. We are forever grateful for the incredible love, laughter and lessons Glenn shared with so many of us in the stunt community.
The following is the speech his son, stuntman and SU Member Scott Wilder gave at his celebration of life on August 26th in Malibu, CA. Please join us in celebrating Glenn by sharing your favorite memories below.
My best friend…
Glenn Raymond Wilder…
The son of Delos and Leota. Brother to Don, Jerry, Barbara, and DeeDee. Father of Wendy, Kelly, Scott, Kyja, and Myah. Husband of Amy Wilder. Grandfather of Reid, Ryan, Justin, Wade, Ashley, Alex, Aby, McKinly, Merrick, and Lili. Great-grandfather of Blake, Bella, Sebastian, Skyler, Rylie, Aubrey, Alexis, Montana, Spree, Emmitt, Dash, and Lachlan.
My dad grew up in North Hollywood in the 1930s and 40s. His mother was a seamstress and his father was a city worker who trimmed the tallest palm trees in the San Fernando Valley until his retirement at 65.
Always the athlete, my dad played baseball, basketball and football all throughout high school. After graduating, he left to serve in the Navy where he was stationed in Adak, Alaska. He continued to play basketball during this time. In 1955, he came home and continued his education at Valley College, still playing baseball and football. He Continued to play football for the Eagle Rock Athletic Club, when he earned a football scholarship to the University of Southern California. Dad then went on to play with the San Diego Chargers. In pre-season, he blew out his knee, ending his football career. After he recovered, he received a call from a USC coach who asked him to Tech Advise a football movie due to the coaches unavailability, and from there he entered into the film industry.
My dad studied professional fights to learn visual and physical impacts from giving to receiving to emulate these actions on camera. He studied car accidents to learn what vehicles and speeds could be survived and when that energy turned to fatalities. He studied roll cages in race vehicles to see where they could exceed the limits of stock vehicular structure. His growing group of best friends all practiced riding dirt bikes where they learned loose traction momentum that easily translated to cars on or off pavement. This band of brothers soon figured out that to improve believability in doubles, they would need to train men and women of all ethnicities in these skills. They trained every weekend they could and searched everywhere they had the opportunity to discover talented athletes and prepare them for a stunt career.
After a period of time in The Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures, with mentors like Loren James, Lenny Geer, and Paul Baxley, my dad, Ronnie Rondell and Hal Needham formed an elite group of multi talented, multi ethnic stuntmen and founded Stunts Unlimited in 1970.
Their departure from the association resulted in a blackballing of all of Unlimited’s members. I remember the night after the departure, a knock at the door of our Sylmar house. I, at 7 years old, answered the door while dad was working on our motorcycles. It was three giant men from the Association, led by Tony Epper. I went and got dad who stormed through the door and slammed it. A very heated discussion ensued as I stood behind the door listening. After a while, the intensity died down and the men left without a blow being thrown. I thought that he was the toughest man in the world.
When I was in my teens, dad was my best friend. We rode together and practiced fights and high falls. He brought me to work as often as possible. Later, people who often wanted his attention while we were doing our thing told me many stories of what an asshole I was at these intrusions. Dad was always eagerly available to greet, advise, or train anyone who asked or needed it. This was the theme of his life and a huge part of who he was, and of who I became.
There are many people here with stories about the Wildman, and soon I would like to invite up the first person to share some stories with all of us. After a few selected people, all are welcome to step up and share their stories. But first, I want to thank Stunts Unlimited, Brand X, the Association, Buddy Joe Hooker, Eric Rondell, Oliver and Geneva Keller, Carrie Shaw from Stunts Unlimited, Scott Hubble, Steve Hart, Amy Wilder, Kerri Wilder, Lisa Brown, Kyja and Myah Wilder, Bryce Denton, Sally Russel, Kieth Shindal for AV, anyone I surely have forgotten, and all of the stunt community and family that helped us make this party possible.