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Friends and family mourn local stuntman
Catching worked in Hollywood before retiring to Yuma area
J.P. "Bill" Catching lived a "double life" in Hollywood before retiring in 1983 to a small farm southwest of Yuma, where he bred paint horses and raised alfalfa and citrus.
In Hollywood, he doubled for movie and TV stars as a stuntman, and in some cases he acted in parts.
Catching, who died Aug. 24, 2007, in his Yuma-area home, was also a member of the Kiwanis Club and Yuma County Sheriff's Posse and had run unsuccessfully for a Yuma County Board of Supervisors seat in 1992.
Catching was born June 19, 1926, near San Antonio, Texas, and found his way to Hollywood and film after a hitch in the Navy in the South Pacific from 1944 to 1946.
Among his earliest film roles were with Leo Carrillo in "The Cisco Kid," and he doubled for Roy Rogers who, along with Rogers' wife, would become a lifelong friend.
He had a long friendship with Robert Stack after working as his double in films such as "The Corrupt Ones."
When he moved to Yuma, he had already been working with Lee Majors in "The Fall Guy" as a double, stunt coordinator and action director.
Catching was inducted into the Stuntman's Hall of Fame and was presented the Gold Boot award in 1994 for his stunt work.
Walls in his home are covered with autographed photographs and other mementos from such greats as John Wayne, Glenn Ford, Peter Lawford, Clint Eastwood, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Leonard Nimoy.
"All of the walls are being cleared and most will be donated to museums," said his daughter, Trudy Catching of Lugoff, S.C.
The horses he raised in Yuma were mainly paints. His favorite was Skyball, from Jubilee and the mare Daisy Mae.
Catching rode Skyball in numerous rodeo parades in Yuma and also while in the sheriff's posse.
Bill Kennedy, a Yuma horse breeder, said in a telephone interview, "We rode together in the sheriff's posse a lot. And, we did a lot of horse trading, through the years. I had quarter-horses and he had paints. With all our trading, we were great friends."
Another of his daughters, Robin Renton of Van Nuys, Calif., recalled that "Dad always imprinted the foals from the time they were born - hands all over the young animal."
Added daughter Cara Kaufman of Woodland Hills, Calif., "All three of us learned to ride and rub the horses down from the time we were toddlers."
His daughters hosted a memorial to the stuntman on August 28.
Ron Rubino, one of his close friends and neighbor, gave the eulogy for the memorial, and the Yuma County Mounted Posse brought a riderless horse as a final tribute.
Catching is also survived by four grandchildren.
Pam M. Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6856.