Posted on: Thursday, February 18th, 2016
Larry Parrish (E&H ’85) doesn’t live his life like other people.
For starters, he was 32 years old when he came to Emory & Henry to start college in 1982. He was a Vietnam vet who already had work experience in the oil and gas industry, decided to get his bachelor’s degree, and finished in 3 years – cum laude.
His plans for law school were cut short by family needs back in Columbus, Mississippi, but after that, his career path was punctuated by exciting turns. He landed in Kansas where he owned and operated a bungee jumping company (Vertigo Ventures) where his clients could bungee jump from hot air balloons. In fact he and his partner set two world records (including oldest American – age 84 – to bungee jump from a hot air balloon). He was on the “George Michaels Sport Machine” that night and within 3 days was in 38 major markets, across the world. When asked why they bungee jumped from hot air balloons, Larry responded, “There aren’t a lot of high bridges in Kansas, so we used hot air balloons to get altitude.”
A friend of his in the Health & Fitness industry convinced him to try modeling, and this led to a 20-year career as an industrial model, television commercial actor, stunt coordinator, movie actor and movie producer. He has been in national ads for the NFL and Monday Night Football, Budweiser, Nicoderm Missouri Lottery, Toyota, Sprint and several others. He has played a doctor, a priest, a cowboy, a private detective, a police chief, an FBI Director, a boxing referee, a minister, an EMT, and more. He has provided voice talents for advertisements, and in the middle of the interview for this story when it sounded like the phone line was breaking up, he reassured that all was well; “Nope,” he said, sounding like a fish, “that’s my underwater voice!” He used that for a commercial for a bait shop in The Lake of the Ozarks. “I was Bubba, the Big Mouth Bass.”
These days, with an MBA in Finance & Accounting, and a holder of several FINRA Securities licenses, he is a financial Para Planner for Cramer Capital Management in Kansas City, Missouri, but he is doing much more. He is also teaching karate (he qualified for the USA Karate Team in the World Games in Telavi, Israel in 2005, and has 5 black belts). He’s riding a Harley – and is an American Legion Rider, Patriot Guard Rider, Guns and Hoses Rider, and rides with the Knights Templar. He’s a 3rd Degree Master Mason, a Shriner, has done search and rescue work for the Civil Air Patrol as a pilot, and as a PADI trained SCUBA Diver. But he says his best work, however, is that he is married to his best friend of 24+ years, and they have a beautiful daughter.
Never one to sit still, he’s in the midst of finishing a movie. “Currently, I am putting the last shot of Top Coat Cash in the can, selling the distribution rights and then on to the next film. I anticipate a good payout for Top Coat Cash, and it’s generating working capital for the movie on the horizon…Scorpion’s Tail—with a budget of $4-5 Million.”
It’s not that Larry isn’t happy to be in the financial and insurance industry; “It pays the bills.” It’s just that he is so much more.