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Returning to Hollywood after the war, Dave found that changes had occurred to the serial and B western offerings --- the post World War II boom was on and productions were no longer inexpensive; and people's cinema wants and values had undergone a change as evidenced by the popularity of MGM extravaganzas and new film noir melodramas and crime flicks.

With no starring series available, Dave played undercover agent 'Nevada', showed off his fancy sixgun twirling, and even fought with star Eddie Dean before they overcome the antagonists in PRC's Cinecolor adventure COLORADO SERENADE (PRC, 1946). And he portrayed silver smuggler 'Gus Uhlrich' in the Roy Rogers epic BELLS OF SAN ANGELO (Republic, 1947), supposedly Republic's most expensive Trucolor western. The fight scene between Sharpe and Rogers is a classic.



(From Old Corral collection)

Above - Dave Sharpe and singing cowboy Eddie Dean mix it up in this lobby card from COLORADO SERENADE (PRC, 1946), a pretty good western filmed in Cinecolor.



(From Old Corral collection)

Above - Roy Rogers and Dave Sharpe in the bloody and brutal fight scene in the Trucolor BELLS OF SAN ANGELO (Republic, 1947).


With the decline of the B-western and cliffhanger in the post-World War II era, Sharpe migrated to stunting and second unit directing in major film productions and TV. In LUST FOR GOLD (Columbia, 1949), a tale of the fabled Lost Dutchman Mine, you can spot Sharpe doubling William Prince in the closing brawl against a dishonest lawman played by Will Geer. He doubled Guy Madison in TV's WILD BILL HICKOK, and worked in THE CISCO KID, ZORRO, THE FBI, THE HIGH CHAPARRAL, and others.  He was Tony Curtis' double in several films, including THE GREAT RACE (1965) - remember that great food fight with Sharpe doing a fall into a cake. And if you look close, you can see Sharpe as a cavalry trooper who takes an arrow in the back and crashes through a window in the Glenn Ford DAY OF THE EVIL GUN (MGM, 1968).

While acting in THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JUDGE ROY BEAN (1972) with Paul Newman, Dave noticed the first signs of an illness that would significantly impair his nervous system and cause muscle weakness. Many sources note that Sharpe passed away in 1980 from the effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease). However, other sources note Parkinson's Disease. I have several newspaper obituaries and Parkinsons is mentioned as the cause of his death. Parkinson's and ALS are both nervous system disorders, and Wikipedia has info on both at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinsons and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ALS.

His last work was in Warren Beatty's HEAVEN CAN WAIT (1978).

Dave Sharpe passed away on March 30, 1980 at La Vina Hospital, Altadena, California.

Better than many of the cowboy heroes that rode the cinema trails during the 1930s and 1940s, Dave Sharpe became too involved in second unit work to vigorously pursue starring roles in the pre-World War II days. He also found that stuntwork kept him busier and was more lucrative. Upon his return from World War II military service, he discovered that the cowboy film and cliffhanger were fading into the sunset, and he concentrated on television and A grade film work.

During a career that spanned about 50 years - from silents through the late 1970s - Sharpe worked in thousands of films and TV programs. His legacy is a significant quantity of amazing stunt work which elevated many low budget westerns and serials from mediocrity to memorable.



(Courtesy of Dolly D'Amico Montgomery)

Above are Dave Sharpe on the left and Dee Montgomery's dad Bill D'Amico on the right. They became friends in the 1930s and the above photo was taken at Universal City in 1965. Note that Dave has his customary cigar.



(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above - a smiling Dave Sharpe at one of the western film conventions circa 1970s.
 

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above - a very ill Dave Sharpe in a 1979 photo.



(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Pondering some questions from the audience are, from left to right, Dave Sharpe, Billy Benedict and Penny Edwards at one of the 1970s film festivals.



(Courtesy of Minard Coons)
In the photo left, Dave Sharpe and Billy Benedict entertain the film festival audience with an ol' soft shoe.


Links

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has film appearance information on Dave Sharpe ... but does not list all of his stunt work: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0789211/

  The Internat Movie Database (IMDb) for Gertrude Messinger: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0582211/

Sharpe was presented with the Yakima Canutt Award at a May, 1979 National Film Society awards ceremony and luncheon: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/80399215/the-los-angeles-times/

Director William Witney's son, Jay Dee Witney, has about 50 videos online. Many of those have his dad talking about Republic Pictures ... stunt man Dave Sharpe ... the making of the Captain Marvel serial ... directing Roy Rogers westerns ... more. Here's a 4 minute video of Bill Witney remembering Dave Sharpe: https://vimeo.com/channels/knothead/88492083

YouTube has a 4 1/2 minute tribute to a very young Dave Sharpe during his early film work in "The Boy Friends" series for producer Hal Roach: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCF3DQNU29w

YouTube also has a couple of other tributes to Sharpe and his stuntwork in various films:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=momQu1o-nb8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c89c8dS3g4

The GYMN (Gymnastics) Forum website lists David Sharpe as the A. A. U. Tumbling champion in 1925 and 1926: http://www.gymn-forum.net/Results/AAU/Men/m-67yrs-b.html

In 2012, Sharpe was inducted into the The World Acrobatics Society Gallery of Legends, Professional Acrobatics category: https://worldacro.com/gallery-of-legends-hall-of-fame/s-z/

There's some screen captures of an older Dave Sharpe in the original Star Trek TV program: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/David_Sharpe

Stuntman Neil Summers has a writeup on Sharpe at Boyd Magers' Western Clippings website: http://www.westernclippings.com/stuntmen/davesharpe_stuntmen.shtml

Dave Sharpe won a contested divorce from former actress Thelma Mae Sharpe (Thelma Crawford) after lurid testimony linked her to an affair with an aircraft exec. University of South California (USC) digital collections has four photos of Thelma Mae Sharpe and David Sharpe during their 1952 divorce. Photos were taken April 14, 1952 by the Los Angeles Examiner newspaper: http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/digital/collection/p15799coll44/id/45713


On the trail of Dave Sharpe

Ancestry.com (subscription), Family Search (free), ProQuest military records, Social Security Death Index (SSDI), California Death Index, trade publications, and newspapers have information on Dave Sharpe and family.

Appears he was married four or five times:

1. the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has Dave's first wife as Jean Allen. Have found no records to confirm that pairing.
2. second marriage was to actress Gertrude Messinger (were married from April, 1932 to May, 1935).
3. third marriage was to actress Thelma Mae Crawford (were married from January, 1949 to April, 1952).
4. marriage number four was to actress Mary Lou Dix (Mary Louise Wolfe) (they married in May, 1956; when she passed away in 1963, her death certificate lists her as divorced. Her previous husbands were Oscar nominated composer and conductor Alfred Newman and prolific stunt man Bud Wolfe.).
5. his last was to Marjorie Josephine Messinger, the widow of 1920s child actor Buddie Messinger (Melvin Joseph Messinger). But there's questions on that marriage - more on that at the bottom of this webpage.

Marriage and/or divorce info on those ladies are highlighted with a  


Was Sharpe married to Marjorie Josephine
Messinger, actor Buddie Messinger's widow?

Biographies on Sharpe note that his last (fifth) wife was Marjorie Josephine Messinger, the widow of child actor Buddie Messinger (Melvin Joseph Messinger) ... who was the brother of Dave's second wife, actress Gertrude 'Gertie' Messinger.

Family trees on Ancestry.com and Family Search indicate that her birth name was Marjorie Josephine Montgomery, born 1914 in Winnipeg, Canada to Grace Graham and Chester John Montgomery.

In May - early July, 2021, I checked (many) family trees at Family Search and Ancestry.com for the Messingers ... for Dave Sharpe ... and for Marjorie Josephine Montgomery and parents. Found nothing to confirm that Marjorie and Sharpe married sometime in the 1960s. That didn't surprise me.

From Social Security records, we know that Marjorie's last name became Sharpe as of February, 1968, and that indicates a marriage to a person named Sharpe. But in Sharpe's 1980 funeral notice, she's listed as his sister-in-law. And when she died in 1997, Social Security records have her as "Marjorie Josephine Messinger", not Sharpe. Wonder if she and Sharpe divorced, and she returned to her Messinger surname.

Another (remote) possibility is that Marjorie married a David Sharpe, but he wasn't actor / stunt man David Sharpe. If that's the case, then the "sister-in-law" mention of her in actor / stunt man Sharpe's 1980 funeral notice makes sense.

Lots of confusion. More info follows:



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