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Reginald “Snowy” Baker at Hollywood Forever…

Sunday, August 10th, 2008




Reginald “Snowy” Baker





BORN: February 8, 1884, Surry Hills, Syndey, Australia

DIED: December 2, 1953, Hollywood, California

CAUSE OF DEATH: Cerebro-vascular disease

BURIAL: Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Colonnade, North Wall, T-3, N-11


By Allan R. Ellenberger


Reginald Leslie “Snowy” Baker was arguably Australia’s greatest all-round athlete. Called “Snowy” from childhood because of his very blond hair, he first gained international fame when he represented Australia in boxing at the Olympic Games in London in 1908. He also was an expert equestrian, footballer, wrestler, fencer, swimmer and diver. His other sports included water polo, sailing, soccer and Rugby.


He remains the only Australian to have represented the nation in three separate sports at the Olympic Games, and he played rugby union for Australia against the touring Great Britain team in 1904. In Australia he was a member of the famed Sydney Lancers, a military riding group.


At the London 1908 Olympics, Baker competed in the boxing, swimming and springboard diving, winning a Silver Medal in the middleweight boxing division after losing narrowly on points in a hard-fought encounter with Britain’s J.W.H.T. (“Johnny Won’t Hit Today”) Douglas. Baker’s Olympic boxing performance has been matched by only one other Australian – light-welterweight Grahame ‘Spike’ Cheney, who won silver in Seoul in 1988.


Baker and his wife came to the United States in 1920 and he became a friend of Douglas Fairbanks Sr., appearing in fourteen films and producing three of them. He was an expert boomerang thrower and bullwhip cracker, reportedly teaching the art to actor Lash LaRue. He at one time owned a string of ponies and taught many Hollywood celebrities the art of polo.


Baker had a varied post-Olympic career, most notably as a boxing referee, boxing promoter, entrepreneur, writer, actor, film-maker, and Hollywood stuntman. He performed stunts in the film National Velvet (1944) and reportedly taught Elizabeth Taylor how to ride a horse.


He was instrumental in creating the polo fields at the Riviera Country Club (Pacific Palisades) and became a director and major operating partner there for at least two decades. During the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, he was both Australia’s team attaché and a perceptive correspondent for the Sydney Referee


In 1951, Baker became ill and died two years later at age 69 of cerebro-vascular disease at his home at 226 N. Irving Boulevard. He was cremated and interred at Hollywood Cemetery. ‘Snowy’ Baker was survived by his wife Ethel and a step-daughter.



Reginald “Snowy” Bakers cremation urn at Hollywood Forever




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