07 March 2001 |

Julius Palffy-Alpar
Former Berkeley fencing coach Julius Palffy-Alpar, known internationally for training skilled fencers, from Olympic stars to movie stars, died Feb. 14, after a short illness. He was 93.

Palffy-Alpar was a supervisor of physical education at Berkeley in the former Department of Physical Education from 1962 until his retirement in 1975.

A military skiing and foil, saber and épée champion in his native Hungary, Palffy-Alpar taught hundreds of Berkeley students during his career and brought the UC Fencing Team to high distinction.

He also scripted physical combat for Hamlet, Don Juan and other dramatic productions, and tutored such celebrities as Marcel Marceau and Robert Goulet.

Toward the end of his career, Palffy-Alpar devised ingenious methods for teaching fencing to the blind. Three weeks before his death, he was photographed demonstrating fencing techniques to a Kensington policewoman.

“He was an absolutely marvelous figure, a demanding teacher and a compassionate man,” said friend and colleague Roberta Park, professor in the graduate school from the College of Letters and Science’s Department of Integrative Biology.
Palffy-Alpar won the campus’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1976.

He is survived by his wife, Eva, of Berkeley, and many relatives in Hungary.


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