Stunt Memorial: Terrell, Ken (RIP)


Ken Terrell

Born: 1904 Passed: 1966

Stuntman and actor Kenneth Jones Terrell was born on April 29, 1904 in Coolidge, Georgia. Terrell moved with his family to Atlanta, Georgia at age fourteen. Ken went to Georgia Tech with the specific intention of playing football, but failed to make the team because he was considered too small. Terrell decided to rectify this situation by responding to a newspaper ad for Earle Liederman’s Physical Culture mail order program. The program proved to be so successful that Ken won the Earle Liederman Most Perfectly Developed Man contest several times in the mid-1920’s. After an initial attempt at a show business career in vaudeville failed to pan out, Terrell eked out a living in New York City as a model in a 5th Avenue department store window. Ken eventually left New York for Chicago, Illinois, where he secured a booking on the Keith Vaudeville Circuit and worked for the next four years in various acts with a series of partners who included the diminutive James Fawcett. In 1937 Terrell, Fawcett, and Fawcett’s wife Helen Thurston headed west to try their luck in Hollywood, California, where Terrell found gainful employment performing stunts and playing small roles in numerous Westerns. Ken’s peak period as a stuntman lasted from 1937 to the late 1950’s. However, in 1958 his career as a stuntman was abruptly curtailed in the wake of Terrell breaking his foot during the shooting of a TV commercial for Chevrolet cars. Unable to completely recover from his foot injury and thus resume doing stunt work full time, Ken was forced to focus more on acting roles in assorted movies and TV shows instead. Alas, Terrell’s health deteriorated in his latter years. Ken died alone from arteriosclerosis on March 8, 1966.

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