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God’s Stuntman on the Red Carpet

Bob Yerkes has been defying death now for more than 60 years and he says he has been mentored by Jesus Christ!

As the quiet figure of Bob Yerkes stood on the Red Carpet at the 19th Annual Movieguide® Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry held Friday, February 18, 2011 at the Universal Hilton Hotel in Hollywood, you would never have guessed that this man had been defying death with his extraordinary stunts for nearly 64 years.

Bob Yerkes
(Photo: Norma Wooding)

So amazingly, as none of the other journalists standing me realized who is was, I grabbed him for an interview and asked him first of all how his name is pronounced. He laughed and said, “Herkes, it rhymes with circus!”

Born Brayton Walter Yerkes on February 11, 1932, this legendary American stuntman began a life of acrobatics in the circus at the age of 15, and went on to work as a stuntman in such films as Back to the Future, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, and Hook.

Yerkes said, “This is my sixty-fourth year in stunts and circus. It began when I ran away to the circus when I was fifteen and this has just gone from there in the world of movies.”

Yerkes revealed that he had doubled such stars as Paul Newman, Robert Duval, and Arnold Schwarzenegger just to name a few.

For ten years he taught a seemingly endless number of celebrities circus acts for the “Circus of the Stars” television specials in the 1980’s. Recently, Bob worked in the remake of the film, “Poseidon Adventure”.

Bob on the flying trapeze

This modest man is actually one of the premier stuntman in the world. He has received the World Acrobatics Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award – Gallery of Acrobatic Legends, and is a member of the Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures.

But it is his faith in Jesus Christ that he wanted to most talk about so I asked him where and when he became a born-again believer and he replied, “It was at the beginning of 1957 and I was with the Ringling Brothers circus trapeze act and my dad or mom had never mentioned God to me and I didn’t learn about God at church.

“But with time on my hand, I decided to purchase a Bible and go through it and list all of the contradictions I found in it. It took me a year and four months to get through it and when I finished it I said that this could not have been written by man unless they were God-inspired. It just proved itself to me and all through it God said, ‘Put this to the test? Is this man’s word or mine?’ And as I read it I knew that it was all true and it was God’s Word.”

Yerkes added, “Everything we’re seeing happening today in the world is in there; not vague prophesies, but detailed. So it’s amazing book and now that I am a believer, my ministry is in the entertainment as that’s business that’s where the Lord put me.”

He smiled again, and said, “Since I became a Christian, I tell my friends in the business, I was mentored by the world’s greatest stuntman who specialized in ‘high work’ and that was Jesus Christ who ‘stood in’ for everybody up on the cross!”

I would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview.

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