There are sports fans.
There are rabid sports fans.
There are sports fans who nearly made the big-time.
There is the big-time.
And then there are those who feel they want–and deserve–to rub elbows with the select few big-time charter members.
Meet Barry Bremen.
Barry Bremen was a West Bloomfield, MI. insurance and novelty goods salesman.
He was a marketing executive, and good at it.
Whose ultimate dream was to wear the uniform.
Any big-time sports uniform would do.
At any cost.
He was relentless.
And he earned his moniker: “The Great Imposter.”
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Barry Bremen pushed his way into the national spotlight by posing as an NBA All-Star Game reserve; an MLB umpire in the World Series; an NFL referee; and–strap in–a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.
The fact that he was 6’4” and athletic helped him blend in, somewhat.
Barry Bremen wanted to make as many memories as he possibly could.
Hard to blame him for that.
He accepted the award for actress Betty Thomas for “Best Supporting Actress at the 1985 Emmy Awards.
Thomas was there to accept on her own behalf.
She was present.
Barry Bremen had a wife and three kids when he died in 2011, at 64–on his birthday–after losing a battle with esophageal cancer.
But this was not all that Barry Bremen was.
Throughout his adult life, Barry Bremen was a sperm donor with the loving support of his wife Margo.
He was the father of at least 35 biological children.
Including his three.
At least 32 as a donor…
He was known as a loving and caring family man.
Despite his burning, and somewhat annoying, desire to be in the limelight.
In a 1980 People Magazine profile of the renowned imposter, Margo conceded that the spotlight was big to him, but he felt that “if you have no guts you have no glory in your life.”
That’s the thing.
Barry Bremen may have been an egomaniacal faker…or not.
But he had serious stones.
Glory be damned, he should be commended for that.
[Editor’s Note: This piece was written by Mr. Kaplan in November 2022.]