With their dazzling performances, famous Hollywood stuntmen have captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of moviegoers and television connoisseurs, adults and children alike. Usually remaining faceless and nameless, these heroic acrobats rarely seek the limelight for or the deserved recognition of their daring feats. Breathtaking falls from the tops of skyscrapers and horrific scenes in which the stuntman is set afire by a blazing inferno are just a few of the spine tingling stunts performed by these skilled Hollywood artists. Taking part in risky conflict scenes is the stuntman’s specialty. From diving off a cliff to hand-to-hand combat, stuntmen rarely flinch when faced with dangerous situations. While these men may be termed adrenaline junkies, the fearlessness, precision, and athleticism required of these individuals cannot be denied. They are truly artists and innovators and many of their ideas changed the way stunts are performed today.
Some of the most famous Hollywood stuntmen include men such as:
Ekins is best known for his bold motorcycle jump over a barbed-wire fence in the movie “The Great Escape.” This was Ekins’ first job and is remembered as his most famous stunt. He is also known for the high-speed chase through San Francisco in the movie “Bullitt” in which he drove a Ford Mustang GT. Ekins was the stunt double for Steve McQueen in these films. Other movies in which Ekins appeared are:
o Diamonds are Forever
o The Towering Inferno
o The Blue Brothers
Mantz is best remembered as a movie stunt pilot. He has been labeled as the greatest pilot Hollywood ever saw and king of the Hollywood pilots. Mantz was audacious and would perform stunts that other pilots refused to do. Another thing that set Mantz apart from his counterparts was his thorough planning. He had the ability to fly a plane through or under objects that was thought to be impossible. However, Mantz was killed during the filming of the Flight of Phoenix when his plane hit the desert floor and broke in two. Mantz appeared in movies such as:
o The Galloping Ghost
o Air Mail
o The Bride Came C.O.D.
o The Flight of the Phoenix
Canutt was a rodeo stuntman in many silent westerns along with a host of other films. He has been called Hollywood’s most renowned stuntman, and he is labeled as a pioneer in his field. He is best known for the chariot race in the movie “Ben-Hur,” and he is also known for his daring and dangerous stunts involving cattle stampedes and covered wagon races. Along with John Wayne, Canutt worked to make fight scenes appear more realistic and many of these techniques are still used today. A few of the films on which Canutt worked include:
o Riders of the Dawn
o Stage Coach
o Code of the Outlaw
o The Shadow of the Eagle
There are many famous Hollywood stuntmen whose innovative and creative ideas changed the face of the film industry.
by Wendy Pan