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Jerry Summers
1931 - 2006

Cropped from a publicity photo from NBC
Played Ira Bean

      Born February 3, 1931, Jerry Summers has been in the picture business most of his life. A top-notch athlete, he began his career as a stuntman and extra, taking acting lessons from the great Richard Boone, where one of his classmates was pal Ted Markland. Jerry is so versatile that he has either done stunts, acted, or directed in more than 400 films, and he has worked with another long-time friend Bob Hoy on many occasions. Jerry was in the first episode of Gunsmoke and 21 years later, he was in the last one.  He worked all the major television westerns, and this included being the stunt double for star Chris Jones in the Legend of Jesse James.  He taught Kirk Douglas how to use a bow and arrow, he doubled Tony Curtis in Spartacus, and Sal Mineo in just about everything Mineo did.  

      He was a stunt driver for the Dukes of Hazzard all seven years, doing crashes, rollovers and high speed gymnastics on a daily routine.  Some of his films where he did stunts were Avalanche, Throw Momma from the Train, Alien Nation, Eddie Macon's Run, and The Gumball Rally.  Some of his television acting credits include Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Night Gallery, Laramie, Virginian, Have Gun Will Travel, Tales of Wells Fargo, and some of his film roles include Coogan's Bluff, Dillinger, and Law of the Lawless.  

      He said he got the part of ranch hand Ira Bean on The High Chaparral through sheer luck, but that is not quite the whole story.  He was already well-acquainted caruso with director Bill Claxton, and he had worked with most of the cast and crew members on one project or another, so with the added ability of being able to do just about anything required on the set, he was a shoo-in as a ranch hand.  Although it was said that he often doubled Henry Darrow as Manolito in The High Chaparral, that stunt double was Carl Petty. Jerry left at the end of the first season to pursue his career in the stunt profession, becoming one of the most famous stuntmen in Hollywood.

Jerry passed away January 1, 2006 at his home in California.


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