New “E60” Explores Legendary Sports Prankster’s Surprising Legacy
“The Great Imposter" Barry Bremen - who rose to fame 40 years ago with myriad sports and entertainment stunts - has more than 36 biological children through sperm donation. E60 producer and director Russell Dinallo explains the storytelling
A new E60 episode this week brings previously unknown information to the 40-year-old story of a legendary sports prankster – revealing a legacy he left that has only recently become known.
Barry Bremen, also known as “The Great Imposter,” rose to fame (or infamy) beginning in 1979 when he stole a team warmup suit and joined warmups at the NBA All-Star Game. In the next several years, more stunts followed in pro sports and even the prime-time Emmys.
But away from the media spotlight that followed was another Bremen story: unknown to all but a few, Bremen had donated sperm in an effort to help families struggling with infertility. As is revealed in the new E60, he has more than three dozen biological children who have only recently learned about their ancestry.
“The Great Imposter and Me” debuts on Tuesday, July 12, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN and will be available for on-demand streaming on ESPN+ after the initial airing.
Russell Dinallo, the producer and director of the story, spoke with Front Row:
How did you decide on the balance of educating viewers on who Bremen was with getting to the new information?
This story hinges on the connection the viewer feels with Barry as a character. If the viewer didn’t feel like they got to know him, everything that comes after would be less impactful. So all the pranks and archival interviews were intended to be funny but also to help provide an understanding of who Barry was. My editor Lauren Saffa and I were also really excited about the home video the Bremens kept – their vacation through Europe, Barry’s manufacturing conferences, and family trips with the kids. Those moments were especially revealing, and we tried to include as many as possible.
One of the offspring is disguised in the story. Were most of the offspring willing to share their stories?
It varied. A lot of the siblings were enthusiastic about telling their stories. Some took time to think about it before agreeing to participate. Some spoke off the record but politely declined to be a part of it. “Rebecca” was obviously a unique challenge. She thinks telling stories like this one, which shed a positive light on the donor-conceived community, is really important. But she was also nervous about some of her family members finding out she’s “DC” this way. So the solution is what you see in the story – her interview in disguise.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A 2013 ESPN 30 for 30 short The Great Imposter is available on-demand on ESPN+.