Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
March 5, 1975
1998 - Present
Currently Known For:
Television Personality, Skateboarder and Stunt Performer
Jackass, Viva La Bam, Bam’s Unholy Union, and Jackass Movies
“Skateboarding teaches you how to take a fall properly. If you try to kick flip down some stairs, it might take you thirty tries—and you just learn how to take a tumble out of it without getting hurt.” One of the wildest names in television alongside Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O, Bam Margera first turned heads as a talented skateboarder and stunt performer in the late 1990s. Signing on with Team Element of Element Skateboards, Margera started recording his stunts and unbelievable skills on the board in what later became known as the CKY video series. The recordings caught the eye of Big Brother editor Jeff Tremaine who invited Margera to join the Jackass team in 2000. Building his reputation around skateboarding, his wild stunts and a party-hard lifestyle, it wasn’t long before Margera was a household name in Hollywood. So, after an obvious absence from the spotlight in the mid-2000s, we can’t help but wonder if the 38-year-old has plans to return to skateboarding or reality television anytime soon?
Long before he became a wild child of Tinsel Town, Brandon Cole “Bam” Margera was born and raised in West Chester, Pennsylvania on September 28, 1979. Often running into walls as a child, he earned the nickname “Bam” from his grandfather and later attended East High School before dropping out in his sophomore year to pursue skateboarding full time. “I quit high school the first day of 10th grade because I felt like I was wasting time,” he said. With obvious talent on the skateboard, Margera signed a sponsorship deal with Toy Machine Skateboards and later joined Team Element as he endorsed brands like Adio Footwear, Electric Sunglasses, Landspeed Wheels and Destructo Trucks. During this time, he also started recording himself and his friends skateboarding in what was later known as the CKY video series. Coincidentally, it was this series that launched his television career.
Big Brother editor Jeff Tremaine discovered Margera’s CKY video series and invited him to join Johnny Knoxville, Ryan Dunn and Steve-O on MTV’s Jackass series. Building on his reputation as a skateboarder, Margera’s popularity blossomed as he appeared in Jackass: The Movie, Jackass Number Two, Jackass 3D and Jackass 3.5 before MTV gave him his own series, Viva La Bam. The series ran from 2003 to 2005 and followed Margera as he performed stunts around the world from his Pennsylvania hometown to Brazil, Amsterdam and Transylvania. He even saw his childhood dreams come true when he joined Tony Hawk in the first of many video games in 2001—Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3. “I have to say that Tony Hawk is the man when it comes to hooking up skaters,” Margera said of the experience. “I met him at Tampa Am or Pro a long time ago, like ’99 or 2000 and I just introduced myself and said, ‘I want to go on the Tony Hawk Tour so bad,’ and he said, ‘Alright, you’re on!’ Then, I went on it and from there we became good friends, and he put me on the cover of his second video game, and because of that I bought a Ferrari Modena. So, thank you dude!”
Amid his growing success, Margera’s reputation for partying far preceded him and even overshadowed his successes. “I would spend a full day at the bar just sipping on drinks, cracking jokes with friends, thinking I was having the greatest time when, but when you look at it, it’s like I just spent a year drinking at the bar cracking jokes,” he recalled. “Like, what did I do? Nothing. I didn’t do anything. I wasted so much time just being at a bar… My main regret is just how I slowly stopped skating. Now, I have dreams of tricks that I know that I could do that no one’s done before in my head, but I know it’s going to take skating every single day for a year to even get to that level of trying a new trick that I haven’t done yet.”
Eventually losing his deal with Team Element, Margera slowly got his life back together as he appeared in episodes of Punk’d, The Dudesons, A Tribute to Ryan Dunn, Loiter Squad, Bam’s Bad Ass Game Show and Family Therapy with Dr. Jenn. Most recently, he appeared in the 2017 documentary, Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine, and has even jumped back on the skateboard despite putting on over 30 pounds. “It wasn’t really planned,” he said of his return. “I knew that I wanted to skate again, but the frustration level was so high… You throw your board around all day. So, when I was in Estonia, I made it a point to do an hour of cardio, 300 pushups and 100 sit-ups every day for like two months. That slimmed me down enough to where I knew I could go to Barcelona without looking like a fat piece of s—t.”
Since getting back on the board, the now 38-year-old Margera has even mended fences with Element Skateboards but says he’s still hesitant to jump back into skating full time, at least not yet. “I got so caught up with the fame… it was just easier to drink for a long time. So, that’s what I did,” he said. “I partied with rock stars and now I’m paying for it. I have to relearn all my tricks, and not to mention I was 30 pounds heavier but now I’ve been losing it all because I’ve been skating every day.” Continuing to shed the weight, Margera has hinted that a return to Team Element isn’t entirely out of the question. “Element got in touch with me and said, ‘If you want to release another model or an old limited edition type thing, or just go on Element tours, you’re more than welcome. We want you back on board,’” Margera said. “So that sounds good to me, but I’m 38, though. So, it pretty much hurts to do anything down more than four stairs. That’s why I like transition. It hurts less.” Hopefully, that transition will come soon for Margera since his fans are more than ready to see him back in the game!