Arthur Tauber

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Famous People Who Fenced
President George Washington (1732-1799) was a fencer. That makes sense. In those times, and in times prior, everybody who was anybody carried and sword and knew how to use it. But, it might com as a surprise to learn of what other famous people were also involved in fencing. The following list is certainly not exhaustive. Please share any interesting fencing related facts about these and any other famous fences and we will do what we can to update the list as soon as possible. Thank you.
Lonnie Anderson Richard Thomas Paul Newman
Robert Montgomery General George Smith Patton (1885-1945) was born on November 11, 1885, in San Gabriel, California. He learned fencing at West Point and was also an excellent horseman. He competed the 1912 Stockholm Olympics in the Modern Pentathlon. He placed fifth overall.He graduated from the Mounted Service School at Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1913. From 1914-1916, he was an instructor at Fort Riley. An expert swordsman, he wrote the army's saber manual. In 1913, he arrived at Mounted Service School in Fort Riley, Kansas. He became the school’s first Master of the Sword and taught classes in swordsmanship. On December 9, 1945, Patton broke his neck in an automobile accident near Mannheim, Germany. He was then paralyzed from the neck down and was hospitalized. Pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure developed, and he died on December 21, 1945. Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy Buffett, famous for his Margaritaville song, enjoys fencing.
King Olaf V Bo Derek George Peppard was a fencing instructor before becoming famous in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ with Audrey Hepburn. He also starred in ‘The A-Team’ as Lt. Col. John 'Hannibal' Smith.
Danny Kaye Basil Rathbone Winston Churchill won Public Schools Fencing championship in foil in his youth.
Cornel Wilde Erza Pound the famous American poet, became fencing master and secretary to the great Irish Poet W. B. Yeats, after meeting him in 1912. William Butler Yeats started learning to fence at age forty-eight. Eleven years after learning to fence, Yeats won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. Charlie O’Connell fenced foil for NYU and competed against Nathan Anderson in 1996 NCAA championships. Like his brother, he has been featured in television and films, including the movie “Dude, where my car?” and was recently featured in the TV show The Bachelor.
Sir Richard Burton (Writer/explorer) was a fencer. He fenced, fought, and “was throughout his life an ardent student of the theory, and an acknowledged master of the practice, of the art of swordsmanship” according to the arms curator Forbes Seiveking. Some of his fame derives from his notorious for his visit to Mecca and his translation of One Thousand and One Nights. T.H. White Harry Hamlin
Jerry O'Connell a 1995 graduate of NYU where he fenced saber, starred in his first movie, ‘Stand by Me’. After his NYU graduation, he was the lead in the T.V. show, ‘Sliders’ for five seasons and has been in films such as ‘Jerry Maguire’, ‘Scream 2’, and ‘Kangaroo Jack’.
Theodore Roosevelt said in his autobiography, “While President I used to box with some of the aides, as well as play single-stick [wood version of fencing] with General Wood.” Alexandre Dumas the famous writer of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, participated in duels.
Jose Ferrer Grace Kelly was trained to fence for her role in ‘The Swan’, Charles Vidor’s 1956 movie in which Grace Kelly plays a princess who adores fencing. She was born on November 12, 1929, was later married Prince Rainier III on April 19, 1956 and retired from acting. She was then known as the Princess of Monaco. Aldo Nadi was possibly the greatest fencer of all times. Won 4 olympic medals before he was 22 years old. After some defeats in his early years, went on to be the undefeated and uncontested master champion in the fencing world.
Rene Descartes was a fencing master along with being a philosopher. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Neil Diamond was a New York University saber fencer before his career as an entertainer.
Jessica Yu, a member of the 1986 USA National Fencing Team that competed at the World Championships, won an Academy Award for her documentary “Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien”. At the 1997 Academy Awards Ceremony, she said, “You know you've entered new terrain when your outfit costs more than your film.” She has directed episodes of hit shows like “E.R.” and “The West Wing”, according to Bruce Dickerson, the lead singer for Iron Maiden, fences and owns the British fencing equipment maker, The Duellist. Robert Redford
Robert Redford fenced his director, George Roy Hill, on the set of ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ according to DVD extras.
William Butler Yeats started learning to fence at age forty-eight. Eleven years after learning to fence, Yeats won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) originally studied law, but his love was writing. He said of himself: "I am like a snake, I slough my skin and start afresh." He went from German early romanicism to the sevenity of classicism. He wrote about politics, science, philosophy, history, and art. His poetic drama was Faust, which he took sixty years to complete. Goethe was forever in love and even at the age of 82, he dallied with a teenager. His last words were said to be about a dark-haired girl. Many think of him as the Olympian of letters. He was a great intellect and many have used his sword to defend the honor of many a maid against his rivals. President Harry S. Truman (1945-1953) was the USA's thirty-third. He ran as a Democrat. Truman was born May 8, 1884, in Lamar, Missouri. He fenced at West Point.
President Ulysses Simpson Grant (1822-1885) He changed his name from Hiram Ulysses Grant using his mother's maiden name of Simpson. President Grant (1869-1877) was a Democrat and the USA's 33rd president. He was born April 27, 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio. Grant fenced at West Point. He graduated in 1843. He died of throat cancer on July 23, 1885 at his Adirondack retreat of Mount McGregor (near Saratoga Springs, New York). As General Grant fought in the battle of Polo Alto (1846), Molino de Rey (near Mexico City), Chapultepec (1847), Shiloh (1862), Champion's Hill (Mississippi), Chattanooga (1863), Wilderness (1864) and the Siege of Petersburg (1864-1865). Sandy Dalal, a former Teammate of Nathan Anderson at the University of Pennsylvania when he went by the name of Sanjiv Agashiwala, won in 1998 The Perry Ellis Award for Best New Menswear Designer. He was also named as one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" in the same year. Sandy Dalal’s clothing can be found in prominent stores like Barney's, Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Louis of Boston. President Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) was an American general and the seventh President of the United States. He was a Democrat. He was president from 1829 until 1837. He was born March 15, 1767 to Andrew and Elizabeth (Hutchinson) Jackson. His grandfather was a well-to-do merchant in Ireland. Andrew Jackson learned to fence at West Point.
Stewart Granger started in the movie Scaramouche (1952). Adolphe Grisier was was the subject in Alexandre Dumas' books The Fencing Master, and The Count of Monte Cristo George Friederick Handel (1685-1759), musician and German-English composer.
Louis Jourdan played a fencing instructor in The Swan in 1956. He taught Grace Kelley's character in the movie. Gene Kelly (b. 1929), the famous choreographer and dancer did a version of The Three Musketeers. Captain William Kidd (1645-1701) fenced with his cutless. Since he was of noble birth he studied fencing at an early age. He was a British privateer and was hanged for piracy.
Johannes Lecküchner, a famous Nurenburg fencing master and Swashbuckler (Schwertzucher in German). President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)was the 16th president of the United States of America, was a Republican. Abe was born February 12, 1809 near Hodgenville, Kentucky. He studied law and grammar. St. Ignatious Loyola (1491-1556) was a Spanish soldier who, in 1534, founded the Jesuits Order (Society of Jesus). He was a priest and became a saint.
Ninus I, King of Assyria was said to have developed sword play as a sport. The Assyrians overthrew Damascus in 732 B.C. In 710, they destroyed the Kingdom of Chaldea, and in 609 their empire ended. Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a German social, political, and econimic theorist. He was the inspiration of modern, international communism. He was brought up in Trier in a Jewish family whose father had converted to Protestantism to escape anti-Semitism. He studied at the University of Bonn (1835-1836), where he first learned fencing. He wrote Communist Manifesto in 1848, with Friedrich Engels, and Das Kapital, a 3-volume book. He lived, in exile, in London, England. Michelangelo di Lodovice Buonarroti (1475-1564) was born in Caprese, Tuscany, where his father was mayor. He was brought up in Florence. He worked with a stonemason and his wife, near where Michelangelo owned a farm and stone quarry. Here he learned about the nature of stoneworks. He was an Italian sculptor, painter, and poet. His sword was called "St. Nicholas."
Donald McBane was a Highland soldier and a first-class swordsman, during the reign of Queen Anne. He fought until age 63. Rob Roy MacGregor/Robert Campbell (1671-1734) was a Scottish freebooter who was skilled in the use of the Scottish sword. Miyamoto Musashi was a famous Japanese swordsman who wrote the Book of the Five Rings.. 1600 was the Takugawa period in Japan.
John Milton (1608-1674) was an English poet. His father was a composer. John married (1) Mary Powell in 1642. She had three daughters and died in 1652. (2) Catherine Woodcock, his second wife died in 1654. Milton was blind from 1652 onwards. He married (3) Elizabeth Minshull in 1662, ten years after he became legally blind. Elizabeth was the only wife that outlived him. Milton is buried in St. Giles Churchyard in Cripplegate, England. Milton wore a sword well into his sixties. Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) was an Italian dictator, and although he was not thought to be very adept at fencing, he thought he was. Mussolini was born on July 29, 1883. He was the son of a blacksmith, and worked as a provincial schoolteacher. Benito gave up teaching for socialist journalism. Then Mussolini enlisted in the Italian army, as a private, in 1915, serving until he was wounded in the buttocks by a trench mortar fragment, early in 1917. Jim A. Naismith (1861-1939) - a famed fencing master and all-around American sportsman. Born November 6, 1861 in Almonte, Ontario, Canada. Naismith invented basketball at the YMCA College in Springfield, Massachusetts, 1891. He died November 28, 1939 in Lawrence, Kansas. He was an original member of and the Basketball Hall of Fame was named in his honor in 1959, in the United States of America.
Adrian Paul (b. 1959)was the star of The Highlander TV series. This series probably did the most for fencing of any venue. The Highlander series had a club that sold the series' swords, t-shirts, etc. "There can only be one." Adrian was born on May 29, 1959, in London, England, UK. "Highlander" (1992) His alter ego was Duncan MacLeod, the Highlander. The series was begun in France and the United States in 1992. Aleksander Sergevich Pushkin (1799-1837) was a Russian duelist in a time when dueling was forbidden. Pushkin was a poet. He was born in Moscow and owned an estate near Pskov. He married Natalia Goncharova in 1832. His wife's beauty attracted Baron George D'Anthes, a French Royalist. Pushkin challenged him to a duel and was killed with a pistol (the Baron's weapon of choice). Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618) was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, and fought more duels than any of his contemporaries.
Basil Rathbone, actor William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was a playright and poet. He was also a skilled stage fencer and taught his actors to make things look as real as possible. Sir Richard Steele (1672-1729) was a British essayist and an accomplished fencer.
Duncan Regehr was a classically trained Shakespearean actor and he was familiar with stage fencing. He starred as Zorro in the New World Series on the Family Channel. Patrice Camhi (a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) was Zorro's girl friend, Efram Zimbalist was first cast as Zorro's father, Don Alejandro, and was replaced by Henry Darrow. This series was aired in 1990. Istvan Szabo was the director of Sunshine (2000) was a fencer himself. Sunshine was the story of the Sonnenschein, a Austro-Hungarian Jew family. Adam Sonnensheim was played by actor Ralph Fiennes. Adam change his name to Soro and was in the 1936 Olympics and won the gold. When World War II broke out, he was tortured and killed in front of his teenage son, while in a concentration camp. Hans Talhoffer (1443)
Diego de Silva Valezquez (1599-1660), Spanish artist was born in Seville, Spain. He studied painting under Francisco Herrara, the Elder. Odysseus used a sword called Aor in The Iliad by Homer (10th c. B.C.) Homer was a Greek epic poet. He also wrote the Odyssey. Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778) was originally named Francois Marie Avouvet. He was a French philosopher and author was born in Paris, France.
Orson Wells was born on May 6, 1915, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He was an actor, director, and producer. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago where he fenced. He played Mercutio in 1933 in his Broadway debut in Romeo and Juliet, and then, in 1934, he played Tybalt, Juliet's cousin. Guy Williams, actor, portrayed Zorro on the Disney TV Series. Williams was born Guido Catalano in New York City in 1923. Williams was an fencer but took more lessons for this venue. Williams was 6 foot 3 inches tall and used a real foil not a stage weapon in Disney's Zorro.  


Dr. Arthur Tauber, center, wearing his special protective sleeve and padded vest, weighs in during a practice bout in the old gym in the basement of the main building of Yeshiva University to clarify a defensive technique and to help an emerging "Tauberman" make the most of the learning moment .
If anyone is able to identify the fencers in the above photograph, please contact us.