Snowy Baker

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Snowy Baker

Born: Reginald Leslie Baker, Sydney, 8 February 1884
Died: Hollywood, 2 December 1953

A colorful Australian, Snowy (Reg) Baker was a famous sports and film figure. He first gained fame as an all-around athlete in Australia, notably in boxing, rugby, and swimming. In the 1908 Olympics, he was awarded the silver medal in the middleweight division, losing to John Douglas of Great Britain by decision. Baker also took part in Springboard Diving at the 1908 Olympics.

Baker started in the promotional end of boxing when he became an assistant to the most important promoter in Australia, Hugh McIntosh. After McIntosh sold his interests to Baker, the latter was a boxing promoter in Australia during the 1910s. As a result, Baker played an important part in the career of the young Australian middleweight, Les Darcy.

Frank Garbutt hired Baker to work for the Los Angeles Athletic Club during the 1920s. Baker was instrumental in creating the Riviera Polo Fields and would be the head man of the operation for at least two decades. Because Baker was a horseman, and whilst he was in California, he trained Hollywood stars to ride and was a technical adviser in filming westerns. (He also starred in several Australian films and performed his own stunts, on his horse 'Boomerang'.)

Aileen LeBell worked for Frank Garbutt for the L.A.A.C. as a secretary or a bookkeeper before she became the business manager at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. (The L.A.A.C. had owned the Olympic Auditorium since 1927.) Baker became the promoter at the Olympic Auditorium in 1942. Baker hired Joe Waterman to be his matchmaker, which appears to be the latter's third stint in the same position. It is believed that health problems forced Waterman to quit a short time later in 1942, with Babe McCoy replacing him while Baker was the promoter at the Olympic as late as early 1943.

A younger Snowy Baker

As one of the most versatile Australian athletes in history, Baker continued to play polo well into the 1940s.

Olympic results

Reference sources