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STUNTS, STARS & LEGENDS -July 2012

BILL HART
by John Hagner (Artist of the Stars)


Bill Hart as drawn by John Hagner, Artist of the StartsBorn in Red Oak, Texas in 1934, Bill’s mother and father passed away when he was a youngster ... however, he did finish schooling at Edinburgh High School in South Texas. He moved to California in 1958 when the westerns were in full bloom and Bill became interested in the movie business as a means of support and for college. Bill’s father-in-law, stuntman Chuck Roberson, took an interest in him and it wasn’t long before Bill was falling horses, performing fights and brawls and saddle falls ... on such western television series as “Wanted: Dead or Alive”, starring Steve McQueen, and “Have Gun: Will Travel” (Richard Boone), and on “Gunsmoke”, with James Arness. He did about 40 episodes. Also, on “Cimarron Strip”, “Stagecoach West, which was the first one that Bill was stunt-coordinator.

Bill’s experience with a horse and his stunt fighting was good for him in all of these shows. He coordinated all the stunts on “Stoney Burke” for television, a rodeo series, starring Jack Lord. He was a good friend of actor, Warren Oates whom he doubled.
When John Wayne did “The Alamo” in Del Rio, Texas, Bill spent three months there and in 1968, Glenn Ford had Bill double for him on “Day of the Evil Gun”. This began a long career of Bill doubling for Ford.

He stunt coordinated for Glenn on the action television series, “Cade’s County” in which Bill called in such stunt stalwarts as Dave Sharpe, Chuck Roberson, “Red” Morgan and Hal Needham among others.

Bill was hired by director Sam Peckinpah to be double for Robert Ryan’s gang in the classic western, “The Wild Bunch”. He and other stuntmen had to literally be blown sky high and ride their horses into a Mexican river from a bridge after it is demolished by dynamite.

Bill appeared in other films such as “Young Guns”, “North and South”, “The Fall Guy” and “Heaven’s Gate” and hundreds more. He was one of the charter members of the Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures when it began in 1961.
Considered an all-round stuntman Bill was also an expert with livestock and even car stunts such as turnovers, fire burns, and high falls. His son Chuck is also a stuntman and has worked in Texas on “Streets of Laredo” with James Garner.
Bill is an honored inductee in the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame. He worked on John Wayne’s classic western, “Commancheros” which was filmed in Moab.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame, contact John Hagner (Founder) at 435 260-2160. Email: johnhagner@hotmail.com. Website: www.stuntmen.org. Facebook: Falling For Stars ... Artist of the Stars and Stunt Stars and Legends. Mailing address: 81 W. Kane Creek Blvd. - #12, Moab, Utah 84532.

STUNTS STARS AND LEGENDS
is a series of articles and drawings by John Hagner and appear in Moab Happenings monthly.
 
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