STUNTS, STARS & LEGENDS November 2011
by John Hagner (Artist of the Stars)
In the movie, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” it was Mickey Gilbert doubling for Robert Redford and Howard Curtis doubling for Paul Newman, when they jumped off the cliff into the river almost a hundred feet high. Actually, they did the jump from a crane (cherry picker) in California, and landed in the water nearly eighty feet high. A touch stunt that saved the lives of Redford and Newman to be sure. Stuntmen have taken the reins for the actors since time began in films dating back to the Silent era of filmmaking.
Mickey Gilbert is one of those stalwart stuntmen who was capable of performing practically every kind of stunt, whether it be horse work, car stunts, barroom brawls ... he was one of the original all-round stuntmen.
He was here in Moab, Utah for the filming of “City Slickers II, starring Billy Crystal. Mickey was Stunt coordinator and supplied some pretty neat stunts throughout the movie.
This illustration, which I did of Mickey back in 1993 when he was here for “City Slickers II” gives you some idea of his capabilities as a top stunt performer. Mickey did horse falls in westerns as well as coordinating the action for the television spectacular, “The Fall Guy”, starring Lee Majors. That’s him jumping Lee’s pickup truck, which was featured in the opening scenes of “The Fall Guy”.
Getting back to the movie, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, in the scene where they were about to jump off the cliff ... remember it was set up nicely with some humorous dialogue: “I can’t swim” ... “Are you crazy”? The fall will probably kill you!” Redford and Newman did the jump off the cliff, but landed on a ledge about 4 feet below the cliffs edge.
In the film, “The Sting”, Mickey Gilbert did all of Redford’s walking scenes, as Redford, at the time the movie was made, was still getting around by crawling. Redford didn’t need a stand-in for his standing scenes, having just mastered the art of standing two weeks before shooting started.
Here are some of the films Mickey Gilbert appeared in as stuntman and Stunt-coordinator:
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (TV series) – 2008, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps -2000, The Horse Whisperer 1998 (accident scene), The Nutty Professor – 1996, Apollo 13 – 1995, The Last of the Mohicans – 1992, City Slickers – 1991, Blue Thunder – 1983, Hooper – 1978, Rooster Cogburn – 1975, The Towering Inferno – 1974, etc…
Mickey was inducted into the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame several years ago and is one of many stunt legends who have been so honored.
The Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame is presently without a home and is in need of financial support. Anyone who would like to see the Hall of Fame open again to the public, may send a tax-deductible donation to: Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame (Building Fund), 81 W. Kane Creek Blvd. - #12, Moab, Utah 84532. 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. Your donation would go directly into the building fund project and an acknowledgement will be recognized with a response through the mail.
Please go to www.stuntmen.org for more information about the history of the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame. Also, go to Facebook and search: Falling For Stars. Then Artist of the Stars. Then Stunt Stars and Legends. To contact John Hagner, call 435 260-2160.