Monday, April 12, 2010

Bob Minor Has Some Major Skills

He had the very first spoken line in The Greatest American Hero, a point that I had to call to Bob Minor's attention as we recorded his cameo in Just My Show's most recent podcast. If Minor wasn't aware of that little piece of personal trivia though, we'll give him a pass considering he has an IMDB credits list that could kill a small rainforest to print.

"That was an exciting show for me to do and I had a chance to drive the four wheeler," remembers Minor of the Greatest American Hero pilot. "It was just great." Seeing as his character was killed in the opening scenes of the show, it was the only episode he'd appear in, and it pales in comparison to another first. Minor, who broke into show business as a stuntman, became the first black member of the Stuntmen's Association in 1972.

Minor's first stunt credit came on Russ Meyer's 1970 film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which spring boarded a career that includes the Ed Zwick directed civil war epic Glory and a long run as Roger E. Mosley's stunt double on the classic series Magnum P.I., during which he lived in Hawaii nine months out of the year.

While stunt coordinator on Magnum, Minor did everything from crash cars to hang from a helicopter as it flew over water. It was on the set of the 1975 film Let's Do it Again though, that he pulled off his toughest challenge. As stunt double for Sidney Poitier, Minor had to jump 18 and a half feet from one building to another. "I threw my arms and my head up in the air and bicycled my way through the sky," he recalls. It's a stunt, he of course, wasn't able to fully enjoy until he landed. "I was so glad. I felt so good and the crowd went crazy."

It was on the set of a Martin Sheen film that Minor picked up the acting bug. After landing a small part in the movie, he enrolled in acting school, going on on to rack up a long list of TV and film credits including a substantial roll as "Gamble" in the 1988 box office hit Action Jackson.

If acting and stunt work weren't enough, Minor has also worked as a second unit director and competed in body building events after a friend convinced him to start training. Not only did he take that friend up on the suggestion, but he beat him to win his first competition. "My bodybuilding got me a lot of parts because they wanted big guys and things like that," says Minor, who also took runner up in Mr. Venice Beach. One of the judges in that contest: Arnold Schwarzenegger.

There have been tougher times for Minor, who suffered a serious injury while turning over a car during the filming of Blues Brothers 2000. "People thought I did not make it," he says. "I did everything perfect," he maintains. "It was just one of those deals."

Minor was knocked unconscious and suffered a frontal lobe injury which affected his short term memory to the point that he couldn't remember the countless people who came to visit him once they left. He does know of one person who was at his bedside though: his old Magnum pal Tom Selleck.

Minor would spend months in the hospital relearning basic skills like reading and writing. "It was almost like starting from the beginning," he remembers. He persevered though, and not only got back on his feet, but got back to work almost two years later playing Usher's father in the 1999 film Light it Up. "With the love of God and my friends, I was able to beat the odds on that and I made it," he reflects.

Not only has Bob Minor made it, but he's still going strong. Look for him along with Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence and Danny Glover in Death at a Funeral opening April 15...and if you haven't already, catch him in the latest episode of Just My Show.


Anonymous said...

we love ya Bob!! Will be looking for you in up coming projects!!
Rhonda, Steve and Melody

Anonymous said...

You have always been my hero. Love you man,