Hal Needham, a top Hollywood stuntman who turned to directing rousing action films including “Smokey and the Bandit” and “The Cannonball Run,” died on October 25, 2013. He was 82.
A former paratrooper, Needham appeared in thousands of TV episodes and hundreds of movies, performing and designing stunts and new equipment to execute them.
Needham jumped from planes, was dragged by horses and wrecked cars – breaking 56 bones in the process.
Needham received an honorary Oscar last year.
During the course of his career, broke 56 bones, including his back twice. He punctured a lung, had a shoulder replaced and knocked out several teeth. He invented several new stunt methods and devices — among them the introduction of air bags for breaking falls, prompted by watching pole-vaulters — as “a way to save myself some trips to the hospital,” he said.
Mr. Needham is survived by his wife, Ellyn; two sons, Danny and David; seven grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren