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by John Hagner (Artist of the Stars)

Bill was one of the best horse n in the stunt business. He doubled for Kirk Douglas. Bill was killed performing a routine stunt with a collegue Buff Brady. The stunt was in the 1965 Burt Lancaster classic western, “The Hallelujah Trail”. It called for Bill and Buff riding a runaway wagon. As the horses separated, both men were supposed to jump clear of the wagon before it continued on over a cliff.
Bill Williams drawing by John Hagner
Buff jumped at the precise time, but Bill was a fraction of a second too late; the rear wagon wheel struck him in the back of the head, killing him instantly. Sadly, his wife was watching nearby. The scene was kept in the movie.

In Kirk Douglas’ autobiography, he wrote “I did most of my own riding in Indian Fighter, but occasionally, for long rides, or snatching something up from the ground, I used a stuntman. Bill Williams was an excellent rider and in a silhouette looked a lot like me”.

Bill did stunts in Cheyenne Autumn and The Commancheros, both of which were filmed in and around Moab.

Some of other film credits for Bill Williams were: Two Rode Together (1961), The Alamo (1960), Night Passage (1957), Ride Clear of Diablo (1954), Tumbleweed 1953, Column South (1953), Gunsmoke (1953).
Bill is an honored inductee in the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame for his outstanding contributions to the stunt profession.

For more information on the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame, go to It is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of the stunt profession and to honoring stunt people the world over. To receive a DVD of the Hall of Fame when it was located in Moab for nearly eight years, write to Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame, 81 W. Kane Creek Blvd. - #12, Moab, Utah 84532. Phone: John G. Hagner (Founder), 435-260-2160.

The Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame is presently without a home. Donations are accepted and appreciated and tax-deductible.

John Hagner is an accomplished Artist and has done hundreds of portrait drawings of famous celebrities including 54 different portraits of John Wayne (3 in full color). His work is available in signed-by-the artist prints. He is also available for special commissions by contacting email:

is a series of articles and drawings by Hagner and appear in Moab Happenings monthly.
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