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STUNTS, STARS & LEGENDS - August 2013

Stunts Stars And Legends: Ronnie Rondell
Artwork and articles by John Hagner (Artist of the Stars)

One of the most outstanding stuntmen, stunt coordinator and director of motion pictures and television, is the son of the late actor and assistant director Ronald R. Rondell. Ronnie, together with Hal Needham and Glenn R. Wilder founded the stunt organization Stunts Unlimited back in the early 1970’s.

His career spans 50 years, he started his acting career in the early 1950’s in the “Ma and Pa Kettle” series. In the 1950’s Rondell began as a stunt performer in such television series as “Mike Hammer”, “Richard Diamond”, “Soldiers of Fortune” and “Cimarron City”.

In the 1960’s and into the 1990’s he worked on more than twenty television series, including “Charlie’s Angels”, “Dynasty”, “T.J. Hooker”, “Baywatch”, and “Falcon Crest”. He was also in more than 100 feature films such as “Spartacus”, “Diamonds Are Forever”, “McQ”, “The Karate Kid”, “Lethal Weapon” and “The Hunt for Red October”. He came to Moab in 1991 to work in “Thelma and Louise”. It was then that several stunt pals and he helped out at the Hall of Fame, and participated in the footprinting ceremonies of over 20 stuntmen and women and actors who were also in town on that film.
He was also the father of stuntman Reid Rondell, who, at age 22 died while filming a helicopter stunt for the television series, “Airwolf”, in 1985. Ron’s second son is also a stuntman and stunt coordinator, R. A. Rondell.

Ronnie is an honored inductee into the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame. He joins some of elite stunt performers in the business ... all of which are legends, including Yakima Canutt, Cliff Lyons, David Sharpe, Hal Needham, Duke Green, Tom Steele, Helen Thurston, Polly Burson, Babe DeFreest, Jeannie Epper and many of her family including her father, Johnny Epper.

The Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame is a non- profit organization that is dedicated to preserving the history of the stunt profession and to honoring stunt people the world over.

Ronnie Rondell is one who has supported the Hall of Fame since its beginning back in 1973 in California and continues to do so. Anyone who is interested in learning more about the Hall of Fame may go to www.stuntmen.org. Then, on Facebook look up Stunt Stars and Legends, then Falling For Stars, then Artist of the Stars.

If you would like to participate in the further growth to locate a facility to move the collection into, contact: John Hagner (Founder) at 435 260-2160 or write him at 81 W. Kane Creek Blvd. #12, Moab, Utah 84532.

 


 

Movies Made in Moab

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - 1988

Starring: Harrison Ford, River Phoenix (playing Indiana Jones as a youngster).

Location: Arches National Park (Park Avenue and Windows Section),
Sevenmile Canyon ... based in Moab and Green River.

Story: Indiana is accompanied by his father (Sean Connery) and reflects back to his youth. The time is 1912 and Jones as a boy is on a Boy Scout venture. While exploring a cave, he and his friends find a group of grave robbers who have just located Coronado’s Cross. Feeling strongly that the cross belongs in a museum, Jones steals the valuable artifact and the chase begins. The scene filmed in Moab is the flashback sequence, and is the dynamic opening of the movie. Suspense and adventure is packed throughout. Jones discovers the existence of the Holy Grail and the disappearance of his father, who was searching for the mythical grail. Jones is able to trace his father when he reads his diary. Stunt-coordinator Vic Armstrong was also stunt double for Harrison Ford in this and previous Indiana Jones’ films.

When the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame was opened in the same year as this film, Vic Armstrong and a few of his stuntmen visited when it was located in, what is now the MARC building. He also brought the Indiana Jones’ hat and whip used in the movie, and donated it to the Hall of Fame. Vic is an honored Inductee in the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame.



Thelma & Louise - 1991

Although the setting is fictional about a route between Arkansas and the Grand Canyon, the movie was filmed in California and Utah. Bakersfield, California and Moab, Utah (the Grand Canyon scenes were filmed south of Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah.

It is a buddy film with a lot of freshness and vigor ... it discovers unexpected resources in both its stars, Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, who are perfectly teamed as the spirited and original characters.

If interested in learning more about the Hall of Fame, please contact John Hagner (Founder) at 435 260-2160.
email: johnhagner@hotmail.com
Hall of Fame website: www.stuntmen.org

John Hagner (Founder) is also the Artist of the Stars.
His Celebrity Portrait Drawings are available at telephone 435-259-7000,
Mailing address: 50 W. 400 N, Moab, Utah 84532.
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