Dale Van Sickel

Dale Van Sickel
Dale Van Sickel
Sport(s) Football, baseball, basketball
Biographical details
Born November 29, 1907(1907-11-29)
Place of birth Eatonton, Georgia
Died January 25, 1977(1977-01-25) (aged 69)
Place of death Newport Beach, California
Playing career
1927–1929 Florida
Position(s) End
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1930–1931 Florida (assistant)
Accomplishments and honors
First-team All-American (1928)
Second-team All-American (1929)
University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1975 (profile)

Dale Harris Van Sickel (November 29, 1907 – January 25, 1977) was an American college football, basketball and baseball player during the 1920s, who later became a Hollywood motion picture actor and stunt performer for over forty years. Van Sickel played college football for the University of Florida, and was recognized as the first first-team All-American in the history of the Florida Gators football program.


Early life

Dale Van Sickel was born in Eatonton, Georgia in 1907,[1] but grew up in Gainesville, Florida.[2] Van Sickel attended Gainesville High School, where he played high school football for the Gainesville Purple Hurricanes.[3] In 2007, eighty-one years after he graduated from high school, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) recognized Van Sickel as one of the "100 Greatest Players of the First 100 Years" of Florida high school football.[3] He is generally regarded as the best high school football player produced in the state of Florida before the 1930s.[3]

College career

Van Sickel attended the University of Florida in Gainesvile.[2] He played right end for the Florida Gators football team for three seasons from 1927 to 1929,[2][4] on the opposite side of the line from left end Dutch Stanley. During his three years as a member of the Gators varsity, the team won twenty-three of twenty-nine games.[5] Led by future Hall of Fame coach Charlie Bachman in 1928, Van Sickel and the Gators posted an 8–1 record during his junior season, outscoring their competition 366–44[6]—the most points scored in the nation. The Gators' sole 1928 loss was to Tennessee in Knoxville—by a single point, 12–13.[6] The Associated Press, Newspaper Enterprise Association and Grantland Rice of Collier's Weekly named Van Sickel to their respective 1928 first-team All-America squads, making him the first player from the University of Florida to be named a first-team All-American.[7] As was typical of the 1920s era, Van Sickel played both offense and defense; his College Hall of Fame biography describes him as "a swift and sure-handed receiver on offense and a gifted defensive player."[2] Van Sickel was injured during his senior football season in 1929, and while he was productive, he was unable to post the same sort of numbers in 1929 that he did during his 1928 All-American season.

Van Sickel was also the team captain and a varsity letterman for the Florida Gators basketball[8] and Gators baseball teams. He was later inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great,"[9] and he was also the first Gator to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1975.[2]

Hollywood career

Van Sickel graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in 1930, and he remained at the university to be an assistant coach for the Gators football and basketball teams during the 1930 and 1931 seasons.[2] Afterward, he moved to Hollywood to begin a career as a movie stuntman,[2] and had his first on-screen stunt role in the Marx Brothers' film Duck Soup (1933).[1] Over the next thirty-eight years, Van Sickel appeared as an extra and occasional leading man in over 280 films and television episodes, and performed on-screen stunts in another 140.[1] He was a founding member, and the first president, of the Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures.[2]

Van Sickel died in 1977 in Newport Beach, California as a result of injuries received while filming a car crash stunt in 1975; he was 69 years old.[10] Van Sickel was survived by his wife Iris and their daughter.[10]

See also

  • 1928 College Football All-America Team
  • 1929 College Football All-America Team
  • Florida Gators
  • Florida Gators football, 1920–1929
  • List of College Football Hall of Fame inductees (players, A–K)
  • List of College Football Hall of Fame inductees (players, L–Z)
  • List of University of Florida alumni


  1. ^ a b c Internet Movie Database, Dale Van Sickel. Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h College Football Hall of Fame, Hall of Famers, Dale Van Sickel Member Biography. Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "FHSAA unveils '100 Greatest Players of First 100 Years' as part of centennial football celebration," Florida High School Athletic Association (December 4, 2007). Retrieved May 26, 2011.
  4. ^ 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 87, 90, 102, 186 (2011). Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  5. ^ College Football Data Warehouse, Florida Gators, Florida Yearly Results 1925–1929. Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  6. ^ a b College Football Data Warehouse, All-Time Coaching Records, Charles W. Bachman: 1928. Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  7. ^ Associated Press, "South-West Gain On All-U.S. Eleven," The New York Times, p. S3 (December 9, 1928). Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  8. ^ Associated Press, "Florida's 1930 Cage Entry," The Reading Eagle, p. 10 (January 4, 1930). Retrieved July 23, 2010.
  9. ^ F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  10. ^ a b Associated Press, "1928 Florida All-American Dale Van Sickel Dies," Palm Beach Post, p. D4 (January 27, 1977). Retrieved June 23, 2010.


  • Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0794822983.
  • Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
  • Hairston, Jack, Tales from the Gator Swamp: A Collection of the Greatest Gator Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois (2002). ISBN 1-58261-514-4.
  • Johnson, Bob, Interviewee Dennis Keith "Dutch" Stanley, University of Florida Oral History Project, George A. Smathers Libraries, Digital Collections, Gainesville, Florida (July 25, 1974).
  • McCarthy, Kevin M., Fightin' Gators: A History of University of Florida Football, Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2000). ISBN 978-0-7385-0559-6.
  • McEwen, Tom, The Gators: A Story of Florida Football, The Strode Publishers, Huntsville, Alabama (1974). ISBN 0-87397-025-X.
  • Nash, Noel, ed., The Gainesville Sun Presents The Greatest Moments in Florida Gators Football, Sports Publishing, Inc., Champaign, Illinois (1998). ISBN 1-57167-196x.

External links

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