Barry Bremen dies at 64; prankster crashed All-Star games, Emmys
Barry Bremen, a Michigan businessman and incorrigible impostor who fielded pop flies at baseball’s 1986 All-Star game, launched warm-up layups at the 1979 NBA All-Star game and bounded on stage to accept actress Betty Thomas’ Emmy Award in 1985 has died. He was 64.
Bremen died of cancer June 30 in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he lived with his wife, Margo.
Beginning in the late 1970s, Bremen made headlines for his gate-crashing stunts, mainly at sporting events.
Clad in a New York Mets uniform, he caught the eye of then-Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda before the 1986 All-Star game while shagging balls in the outfield at the Houston Astrodome.
“I knew something was up when he couldn’t go to his right,” Lasorda, who was serving as a National League coach for the game, told The Times. “He said he was living his fantasy, and I said it was my fantasy to get his [rear] off the field.”
It wasn’t his first appearance at an All-Star game. In 1979, he had wangled his way onto the field in New York Yankee pinstripes. Bremen also got onto the sidelines of a National Football League game while dressed up as a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, impersonated the San Diego Chicken mascot and managed to play practice rounds at professional golf tournaments, but his escapades weren’t limited to sports arenas.
When Betty Thomas, who portrayed Lucy Bates on “Hill Street Blues,” was announced as the winner of the Emmy Award for best supporting actress in a dramatic series, she headed to the Pasadena Civic Auditorium stage to accept the honor. But Bremen beat her to the podium and took the golden statue from presenter Peter Graves, telling the audience that Thomas couldn’t be there in person. But she was, and Bremen was arrested and later fined.
An enthusiastic amateur athlete, Bremen was born in 1947 and ran a successful merchandising business in suburban Detroit.
One of his first hoaxes was at the 1979 NBA All-Star game at the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit. After lifting a uniform that fit his 6-foot-3-inch frame, he joined the professionals as they warmed up on the basketball court.
Bremen’s charm endeared him to many pro athletes.
“They always have a good time pulling something off against the establishment,” he told the Associated Press in 1997. “That’s why it’s been so successful.”
Bremen said he “retired” from gate-crashing in 1997 because he didn’t want to be mistaken for the real nuts who run onto sports fields for attention or worse. The knife attack on tennis star Monica Seles in Germany in 1993 was a game-changer for security breaches.
In addition to his wife of 42 years, Bremen is survived by three children, two sisters and three grandchildren.
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