STUNTS, STARS & LEGENDS December 2010
DAVE SHARPE - Crowned Prince of Stuntmen
by John Hagnar
Perhaps the best if not one of the best stuntmen in the history of motion pictures. He was National A.A.U. Tumbling Champion in 1926 and 27. Dave began in pictures back in the early talkies as a child actor, performing whatever dangerous stunts for other youngsters back in the Our Gang Comedies. His first stunt as a teenager was in a Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. movie.
Sharpe moved with his parents from St. Louis, Missouri to Southern California.
During his middle to late teens, Dave starred in several films for Hal Roach Studios - title for the series was the Boyfriends. He not only was the lead actor but did all of his own stunts, primarily acrobatics.
Dave went on as an actor as a grownup starring in some western movies like “Two-Fisted Justice” and “Silver Stallion” and then began working as an actor in the Saturday Matinee Cliffhangers, the action-packed serials especially at Republic Studios. In one particular serial, “Daredevils of the Red Circle”, he co-starred with Bruce Bennett (Herman Brix) and the studio hired a fellow stuntman, Jimmy Fawcett to double for him. When Dave found out how much Fawcett was being paid for stunt work, he decided that after the serial was completed, he would get completely into stunt work and so it went. He worked in practically every serial up until WWII broke out and joined the Army Air Force and flew many dangerous missions including in the European battles, gaining him the rank of Captain.
Following his stint in the service, Dave went back into stunt work at Republic and other major studios. He was a close friend of actor Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and began doubling for him in all his films, including “The Fighting O’Flynn,” “The Exile” and “Sinbad, the Sailor”. He also doubled for many of the major motion picture stars including Tony Curtis. When he was fifty-seven years old, Dave took over the action for Tony in “The Great Race.”
In the movie “Ten Who Dared,” Dave was in Moab to double for actor James Drury down by the river.
Dave Sharpe was inducted and footprinted into the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame when it was located in Palmdale, California in 1975 when he was footprinted in cement along with thirty-two other personalities including Burt Reynolds, Lee Majors, Dale Robertson and many of the stunt legends of the movies including Yakima Canutt, Richard Talmadge, Helen Thurston, Babe DeFreest and Polly Burson.
He died of Lou Gehrig’s disease at the age of seventy.
The Hall of Fame is presently without a home and is interested in talking with anyone who would like to become a Sponsor. The Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of the stunt profession and to honoring stunt people the world over.
Contact John Hagner (Founder) of the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame at 435 260-2160.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or iohnhagner©_hotmail.com.
Mailing address for tax-deductible donations:
Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame, 81 W. Kane Creek Blvd. - #12, Moab, Utah 84532.