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Centenarian worked on Star Wars, Bond and Superman films
ST. THOMAS, ONT. -- Fred Kondal may be the most interesting centenarian in Canada today.
The St. Thomas, Ont. resident is so interesting, it's almost impossible to decide how to lead off the story.
After all, the fact he played small roles in the production of three iconic movie franchises - Stars Wars, James Bond and Superman - is just one fascinating part of Kondal's life.
This weekend he will celebrate his 100th birthday with family and friends in St. Thomas. (From 2-4 p.m. Saturday at Braxton’s Tap & Grill)
Here are just some the highlights of Fred Kondal’s life, any one of which would be a story itself.
- Fred turns 100 year of age, or 25 as he likes to say, on Saturday, February 29 - he is a leap year baby.
- He has lived in the same house his entire life, even though he frequently travelled during his 50-plus year career as a makeup artist in movies, TV and stage. His career began at London, Ont.’s Grand Theatre.
- His greatest credits are for films including Superman I and II (1978, 1980) Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and the Spy who Loved Me, of the James Bond series (1977).
- He claims to have personal relationships with numerous members of the Royal Family and has letters and photos to prove it.
- Despite being three-quarters blind, he walks five miles a day, that's scaled back from 10 miles after he was hit by a car and nearly died in 2018.
- Amazingly that was the second time he was struck. Eight years ago, he was hit, and claims he was told he was declared dead on the operating table and was being wheeled out, when he suddenly coughed and life-saving measures resumed.
And he has plenty of recollections from his film work and reflections on life:
On putting makeup on Harrison Ford for his role as Hans Solo:
“I think we kind of aged him a bit, to change his features.”
On Stuart Freeborn, the legendary makeup artist who created Yoda:
“He didn’t have to do much to make the change, because (laughing) he looked like Yoda, so much, naturally.”
On Christopher Reeve, who portrayed Superman:
“He was very pleasant. I enjoyed talking with him. A truly nice actor
On Roger Moore, who portrayed James Bond:
“A super nice guy, I liked him.”
On putting makeup on ‘most other’ actors:
“They’d just never stop smoking, blowing smoke in your face while you were making them up. Some of them (laughs) smoked the weed.”
On the Sept. 21, 2018 pedestrian crash that near cost his life:
“I was demolished. Every bone in my body was broken.”
What his doctors said about surviving the crash and surviving 10 surgeries after it:
“I never knew a person that went through what you went through and survived.”
On making it to 100 or ‘25’ as he says:
“Wine, women, men and song. And after that walk five to 10 miles at least.”
Watch Sean Irvine's report to hear more anecdotes from the 100-year-old.