Larry Desmedt, a legendary custom motorcycle builder and stunt rider who went by the name Indian Larry, died on August 30 2004 of severe head injuries he sustained in an accident. He was 55.
Indian Larry was performing one of his signature stunts during the Liquid Steel Classic and Custom Bike Series in Concord, N.C. He was standing on the seat when suddenly the motorcycle began to wobble. Unable to maintain his balance, Indian Larry fell off the bike before it crashed. He was not wearing a helmet.
Born in Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y., Indian Larry was a teenager when he bought his first motorbike, a 1939 Harley Knucklehead, for $200. He took it apart and spent the next nine months learning how to put it back together again. He later moved to California and apprenticed under hot rod builder Ed "Big Daddy" Roth.
The tattoo-covered metal-sculptor and motorcycle mechanic launched the Brooklyn-based Gasoline Alley motorcycle workshop in 1991 and devoted the rest of his life to creating and riding "old school bikes." Several of his custom-built motorcycles won awards, including the "Grease Monkey," which was named Easy Rider magazine's Chopper of the Year.
Indian Larry also performed stunts in movies ("Quiz Show," "200 Cigarettes") and on television. He was a featured artist on the Discovery Channel's "Biker Build-Off" series, and once rode a motorcycle through a wall of fire on "The Late Show With David Letterman."
His autobiography, "Grease Monkey, The Life and Times of Motorcycle Artist Indian Larry," is scheduled for publication in 2006. Indian Larry is survived by his wife Bambi, the Mermaid of Coney Island.
Obit. (borrowed from a previous website post)
In My Opinion
Indian Larry was one of the nicest people you will ever meet. He seemed like an ordinary guy who loved motorcycles. He didn't let his fame go to his head and he had time for his fans, whether it was to talk about bikes, an autograph, or to pose for a photo. His talent for building bikes will always be legendary.
During the Discovery Channel Great Biker Build-off at Sturgis in 2003 Indian Larry and Billy Lane had each built a motorcycle that was judged by the crowd in attendance. Indian Larry's latest creation was voted as the winner. When the trophy was presented to him he declared the competition a tie and shared the glory with his friend Billy Lane. They then proceeded to cut up the trophy and distribute the pieces to the crowd as mementos. That shows the true character of the man.