Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Rock Brynner, Yul Brynner’s Son, Dead at 76

Rock Brynner, Yul Brynner’s Son, Dead at 76

Rock Brynner, who was the son of famed actor Yul Brynner and held a number of different jobs in his life, died at 76. Brynner died from complications of multiple myeloma. According to Deadline, Brynner had been in hospice care in Salisbury, Connecticut, family friend Maria Cuomo Cole said.

Brynner took a number of different routes in his life. For instance, he was a bodyguard for the late heavyweight boxing champion of the world Muhammad Ali, a road manager for the rock group The Band, a farmer, a street performer, and a professor of constitutional history.

As for his academic career, he attended places like Yale, Trinity College Dublin, and Columbia. While at Columbia, he earned a doctorate in American history in 1993. Brynner then went on to teach for more than a decade at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

As you might be able to tell, Brynner lived quite a life. He actually wrote a one-man play that was based on French playwright Jean Cocteau’s addiction memoir, “Opium.” Brynner did perform this for a short time on Broadway in 1970. It’s worth noting that Cocteau happened to be Brynner’s godfather.

Brynner then headed over to Europe and he traveled around the countries there as a mime. However, he developed drug and alcohol problems. Eventually, he was able to take that period of time and turn it into a novel titled The Ballad of Habit and Accident from 1981.

Rock Brynner Once Joined Up With Muhammad Ali

During his time in Europe, Brynner ended up becoming part of Ali’s entourage. It was during this time that Ali was stripped of his heavyweight championship due to his anti-war stance and beliefs. Ali did call Brynner his “bodyguard” but he probably actually was not one for Ali. Well, Brynner did become a press liaison for Ali. He helped set up a fight with Al “Blue” Lewis in Dublin, Ireland, in 1972.

When he came back to the United States, Brynner befriended Robbie Robertson, who was the guitarist and songwriter for The Band. Brynner would often drive the band’s tour bus. But he played a bigger role in introducing Robertson to famed film director Martin Scorcese. That ended up becoming the nucleus for The Last Waltz, a concert documentary on The Band.

Nest, Brynner would meet up with Isaac Tigrett in a bar setting. It was Tigrett who had an idea for a rock ‘n’ roll-themed restaurant. Brynner and his dad would become early investors in the Hard Rock Cafe, founded by Tigrett as well as Peter Morton.

As it so happened, Morton’s father owned the Morton’s steakhouse chain. And when Tigrett expanded into New York in 1984, he ended up hiring Brynner to be the manager. For a short period of time, Morton’s in Manhattan was the place to be seen.