Frank Retz - A Restrospective - One Tough Dude!
*Most Senior German Officer to survive the siege at Monte Cassino Italy
*European Professional Soccer Star... Won title in Argentina
*World Equestrian Champion
*Wrestled a knife away from Charles Manson
*Died at 84, at 1:30AM, after a night of dancing
Yvette Cabrera Daily News Staff Writer - Date: Feb 9, 1998
When Frank Retz plunged to his death early Sunday after a portion of the private road leading to his house collapsed, the 84-year-old man left behind a life that Hollywood movies are made of. Retz, a native of Germany and a former cavalry officer there, worked as a stuntman during the golden era of Western movies in Hollywood. But possibly his biggest claim to fame came from his brush with death in the 1960s. The former stuntman lived next door to the notorious killer Charles Manson Charles Milles Manson (born November 12, 1934) is a career criminal who led the so-called Manson Family, a commune or cult that began to form around him in the U.S. city of San Francisco in 1967. and his sinister clan.
In a Daily News article in 1986, a deputy district attorney who helped prosecute the Manson case, Steven Kay, said Retz might have been next in line to be killed had the Manson crew not been arrested.
It was in a nearby creek bed that Manson members said they fatally stabbed another stuntman, Donald Shea, a friend of Retz's.
But Retz once told the Daily News he wasn't scared of the Manson clan. ``I told those druggie Manson people to get out, and when they saw me they would run away because I told them I would beat them up to death,'' Retz said in 1986.
Retz even got into an fight with Manson and a took a knife away from him, said Retz's longtime friend Ron Smith of Simi Valley.
``You don't meet a lot of people like him,'' said Bill Murdock of Chatsworth, who lived just two miles away from his friend. ``When Frank told you he would do something, he'd do it. There are not a lot of people like that". Retz came to Los Angeles in 1951.