Malibu resident Don “Hard-Boiled” Haggerty, a professional athlete, actor and stuntman passed away peacefully with his family by his side at his home in Malibu on Jan. 27. He was 78.
Haggerty was born in Los Angeles April 4, 1925 as Don Stansauk, one of six children born of Lithuanian parents. He served on the Battleship New Jersey during World War II and afterward attended Texas University and graduated from John Muir College and Denver University. From early on, he was a gifted athlete, and went on to play professional football for the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions, and was known during his career as the largest player in the NFL.
He became known as “Hard-Boiled” Haggerty when he entered Pro Wrestling during the 1950s and 1960s. Recognizing his charisma and stage presence, the promoters made him a villain in the wrestling arena. He quickly gained a reputation as one of the toughest wrestlers in the world, drawing crowds from all over that became enthralled by his antics both in and out of the arena. He was United States Heavyweight Champion and held several World Tag Team titles.
He began his acting career in the 1960s and made his movie debut in “Paint Your Wagon,” starring Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin. He went on to make 22 motion pictures, more than 100 television shows, 35 commercials and numerous print ads. He was a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA. He was inducted into the Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame and was the winner of the “Iron Mike Mazurki” award from the Cauliflower Alley Club, the Association of retired Wrestlers and Boxers.
He is survived by his daughter, Donna Brown of Cathedral City, and two granddaughters, Amanda and Ashlyn.
Services took place Tuesday at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills with a reception following at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City.