What Do the General Lee, Captain Kirk, and Casper Have in Common?
Not all actors are tough enough to do their own stunts. Wyoming makes them tough, and this is the story of one legendary stuntman. Paul R. Baxley was born in Casper. His career was launched when he was the stunt double for William Shatner in the original Star Trek series. Later Baxley was the stunt director for the Dukes of Hazzard. He was a part of nearly every episode including the stunt in the following clip.
His family moved to LA early in his life. Before he had a career in Hollywood, Baxley played football throughout high school and college. In-between high school and college, he served in the Marines in World War II. He was a scout and sniper from the 4th Division. Baxley was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star.
In his career Baxley worked on some of the largest movie and TV franchises from the 50s to the 80s. Not only was he a stuntman, but he was also an actor, director, and stunt coordinator. According to IMBD, some of the movies he worked on were Diamonds Are Forever, Viva Las Vegas, Rebel Without a Cause, Mutiny on the Bounty, Around the World in 80 Day, and The Godfather.
Baxley was one of the top body doubles for Hollywood legends such as James Dean, Allen Ladd, William Shatner, and Marlon Brando. In fact Baxley became good friends with Brando after meeting on set. Baxley was on the inside of the movie industry in his day and age.
The Trekkie site Memory Alpha credits Baxley as working on Star Trek as a stuntman and an actor. One of his more notable rolls was in the bar fight scene in the "The Trouble With Tribbles." Later he appeared in the Deep Space 9 tribute “Trial and Tribble-ations.”
Baxley passed away in 2011 in California.