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Stunts, Stars And Legends: Ben Johnson

BEN “SON” JOHNSON, JR. was born in 1918. He was cast in many Westerns in the late 1940s and 50s. He was also a world champion rodeo cowboy, stuntman, actor and rancher.

Ben JohnsonHe appeared in a co-starring role in “Wagon Master” first movie filmed in Moab, Utah, starring Ward Bond, Harry Carey, Jr. and Ben. Johnson was born in Foraker, Oklahoma on the Osage Indian Reservation of Irish and Cherokee ancestry, the son of Ollie Susan and Ben Johnson, Sr. His father was a rancher in Osage County and also a rodeo champion. As a youngster, he was a ranch hand and travelled with his father on the rodeo circuit. He was a star in rodeo before becoming involved in the movies. Ben was the Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association’s Team Roping World Champion in 1953. After winning the title, he discovered that, after travel and expenses, he broke even for the year. He was inducted into the Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1973. That same year, he was inducted into the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame. He was also footprinted in cement along with several other stunt legends and stars like Burt Reynolds, Lee Majors, Dale Robertson, Yvonne DeCarlo, Yakima Canutt, Ronnie Randell, Hal Needham, Dave Sharpe and Stuntwoman, Polly Burson. Johnson’s film career started in Howard Hughes film, “The Outlaw” Hughes bought some horses on the Oklahoma ranch that Ben’s fathermanaged and hired him to get the horses to northern Arizona for “The Outlaw” location shooting and to take them to Hollywood. His work caught the eye of John Ford, who hired him for the John Wayne movie, “Fort Apache” filmed also in Moab.Fred Vaugh
Ben Johnson won an Academy Award for his role in “The Last Picture Show” co-starring, Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges and Cybil Shepherd.


Fred Vaugh
FRED WAUGH was “Spiderman” stunt double. In memorium...June 15, 1932 - December 2, 2012. Father of Eric Roman Waugh, stunt coordinator.



Movies Made in Moab

Lost Treasure of Dos Santos (1997)
The movie was filmed in Moab by Chris/Rose
Productions, and MTM Entertainment.

Lee MajorCast: David Carradine, Cathy Lee Crosby, John Wesley Shipp, Lee Majors, Robert Carradine and Hillary Danner.

Story: Stacks of Spanish gold stashed away by conquistadors 400 years ago is the bait for a handful of Americans concocted by writers Rick Natkins and Michael de Guzman. The treasure seekers’ quarrels, loyalties and double-crossing are trotted out as they make their way over cliffs and walls seeking all the reported booty. Directed with little persuasion by Jorge Montesi, picture might appeal to the juve trade. David Carradine heads the cast as a longtime prospector in partnership with disabled James Thomas Byrnes. Wealthy Hillary Danner holds out her ready checkbook to get the search on the road. Michele Greene, playing Byrnes’ daughter, goes along as Carradine’s partner, and Brent Hinley as a nervous computer wiz tags along. Cathy Lee Crosby, Carradine’s onetime girlfriend, inexplicably joins grimy, greedy Lee Majors tracking the other incompetents until they all fall into a stew together.

The premise has been done too many times and with more intriguing characters and much more suspense. Carradine is reincarnated as a patient Westerner, Greene is crisp and attractive, and Crosby offers a good toughie, while Majors makes do with a raspy voice for his portrayal of a baddie.

Lee was born Harvey Lee Yeary in 1939. He was best known for is roles as Heath Barkley in the television series, “The Big Valley” (1965-69), as Colonel Steve Austin in “The Six Million Dollar Man” (1973-78) and as Colt Seavers in “The Fall Guy” (1981-86).

In the late (1980s and 1990s), he reprised the role Steve Austin in a number of TV movies and appeared in a number of supporting, recurring and cameo roles in feature films and TV series, and lent his voice to a number of animated TV series and video games.

1982 Inductees Into The Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall Of Fame

Inductees Class of 82When the Hall of Fame was located on the Mojave Airport in California, several footprinting and induction ceremonies were held. Photo shows a few of the stuntmen who were honored.
Wearing red shirt and black coat, John Hagner, Founder of the Hall of Fame, had the honor of performing the ceremony, for (left to right) Buzz Bundy (Creator of the car ski on two wheels), Hubie Kerns (Stunt double for Adam West, of “TVs Batman”, Mike Vendrell (Stunt-coordinator for the movie, “They Call Me Bruce”), in which I had the pleasure of working in the barroom brawl as a stuntman, Spiro Razatos and Steve Lambert (two outstanding stuntmen).

If interested in learning more about the Hall of Fame, please contact John Hagner (Founder) at 435 260-2160.
Hall of Fame website:

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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