Ben Bates, Sept. 4, 1933~Oct. 4, 2017  

SUN CITY, CA – Benjamin Henry Bates passed away peacefully at the age of 84 on October 4, 2017. He was born Sept. 4, 1933 in Texas to the late Herman C. Bates Sr. and Mattie Lou Thompson Anglin.

Ben is survived by his loving fiancée Valerie McGee, daughter Bliss; sons Brandon, Eddie and Ben Jr.; brothers Charles and Bill Bates, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Herman C. Bates Jr. and John Bates.

Ben proudly served his country in the Navy during the Korean conflict. He operated heavy equipment during the week and rodeoed on weekends, setting arena records and winning championship buckles. Ben qualified for the National Finals Rodeo twice in Steer Wrestling.

Ben was the “Marlboro Man,” appearing in many TV commercials, and was the stunt double for James Arness for 25 years. He worked as a stuntman and stunt coordinator in movies and television series.

Ben was very involved with his children’s rodeo activities, and served two terms as President of the Junior Rodeo Association of California.

Recently, Ben was honored with the Silver Spur Award in Hollywood, from the Reel Cowboys. In Dodge City, Kansas, he was sworn in as a Special Deputy Dodge City Marshal and was honored with a medallion on the Dodge City Trail of Fame. 

Ben was a hard-working family man, a Christian, and very loving and honorable. He touched many people’s lives and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Services were held Oct. 9 in Sun City, and Ben was laid to rest in Texas. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch.