May 29, 2014

Chuck Hayward

Chuck Hayward (1920-1998) spent his youth working cattle and competing in rodeos. He moved to Los Angeles, and while working as a wrangler, became interested in stunt work. His first stunt job was with John Wayne and this began a long association with the star. He was a member of the John Ford stock company along with fellow stuntman Chuck Roberson. To avoid confusion, Roberson, who liked the ladies, was called "Bad Chuck," and Hayward became "Good Chuck." 

Chuck's credits include: "The Fighting Kentuckian" (1949), "Hondo" (1953), "The Searchers" (1956), "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962), "How the West was Won" (1962), "El Dorado" (1967), and "Joe Kidd" (1972).

Below: Chuck did some "Roman riding" in "The Big Country" (1958) starring Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston.

Below: In "The Big Country," Chuck had a featured role as Rafe Hannassey.

Below: Chuck played a Union Captain in John Ford's, "The Horse Soldiers" (1959). Left to right: John Wayne, William Leslie, Constance Towers, and Chuck Hayward.

Below: Chuck Hayward (center) played "Cheyup Tentez" in the "Have Gun - Will Travel" episode, "A Head of Hair" (1960). On the left is stuntman Hal Needham.

Below: From "The Alamo" (1961) - Stuntmen in the scene are: Leroy Johnson, Bill Williams, Jim Burk, Tap Canutt, Dean Smith, Bob Morgan, Chuck Hayward, and Jack Williams.

Below: Chuck performing a fall in "The Alamo" (1961).

Below: Chuck swings down onto stuntman Buzz Henry in "Shenandoah" (1965).

Below: Chuck poses with a prop horse from "Major Dundee" (1965).

Great stunt by Chuck from "Westworld" (1973). Chuck was Yul Brenner's long time stunt double.

Here is the stunt.

Below: Chuck played a passenger in "Airport '77."

May 11, 2014

Joe Bonomo

Joe Bonomo (1901-1978) was one of the greatest stuntman/stars of the 1920's. He was born in Coney Island, New York and started bodybuilding at a young age.

Below: After winning a bodybuilding contest, the first prize was a role in "The Light in the Dark" (1922). Left to right: unidentified, director Clarence Brown (in chair), Joe Bonomo, Hope Hampton, and screen legend Lon Chaney.

After performing stunts on the East Coast, Joe moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the movies.

Below: Joe, sliding down the rope, is doubling Lon Chaney, who played Quasimodo, in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1923).
(One man had already attempted the slide, but he had no safety precautions and was badly burned after sliding about two-thirds of the way down. He fell the rest of the way. Joe lined his gloves and pants with tin foil and made the slide easily.)

Below: Joe leaps from a fire escape to a flag pole in an unidentified film.

Below: Joe does a car-to-plane transfer in the serial, "The Great Circus Mystery" (1925) in which he was the star.

Below: Joe, with Margaret Quimby, starred in another serial entitled, "Perils of the Wild" (1925) which was based on "The Swiss Family Robinson."

Below: No tricks here. Strongman Joe is actually holding that man above his head in Joe's starring serial, "The Chinatown Mystery" (1928). That's Ruth Hiatt on the staircase.

Below: Joe makes a rooftop leap with the aid of a spring board.

Joe had been cast to play Tarzan in "Tarzan the Mighty" (1928) but lost the role due to an injury.

Below: One of Joe's last film jobs was as a Tiger Man in the horror classic, "Island of Lost Souls" (1932) starring Charles Laughton.

After retiring from acting and stunt work due to a hip injury, Joe became a highly successful retail inventory liquidator. Many of the discount bins seen in stores are based on his marketing techniques.

Joe also published many books and articles on bodybuilding, nutrition, healthy living, and self-improvement. In 2009, Joe Bonomo's name was honored posthumously with his induction to the National Fitness Hall of Fame. He was also an honorary member of the Stuntmen's Association.

May 8, 2014

Rex Rossi

Rex Rossi (1919-2007) was an expert trick rider and roper. He worked with the Clyde Beatty Circus and Tom Mix Wild West Show. It was Mix who encouraged Rex to give Hollywood a try.

Rex worked on over 300 films including "The Dead Pool" (1988), "No Way Out" (1987), "The Three Musketeers" (1948), "The Mark of Zorro" (1940), and "Of Mice and Men" (1939).

Below: Rex doubles Roy Rogers in "Hands Across the Border" (1944).

Below: Rex (left) was Bob Steele's (right) stunt double for over 15 years. This photo is from "Trigger Law" (1944).

Below: Rex played "Ramon" in "Bells of San Angelo" (1947) starring Roy Rogers. In the background, on the far right, is stuntman Dave Sharpe.

Below: Rex traveled the world performing his trick riding and roping.

Below: (Left to right) Actor Marc Singer, Rex Rossi, and stuntman Gary Kent on the set of "Street Corner Justice" (1996).

May 4, 2014

Ronnie Rondell

Ronnie Rondell (b. 1937) is one of the best and most talented stuntmen in the business. He co-founded Stunts Unlimited with Hal Needham and Glenn Wilder

Ronnie has worked on films including "Spartacus" (1960), "The Great Race" (1965), "Grand Prix" (1966), "Diamonds are Forever" (1971), "The Night Stalker" (1972), "Blazing Saddles" (1974), "Hooper" (1978), "The Beastmaster" (1982), "Thelma and Louise" (1991), and "Star Trek: First Contact" (1996).

Below: Ronnie (bottom left) played Dannie Kettle in "Ma and Pa Kettle at the Fair" (1952).

Below: Ronnie performed this stunt for the film, "Kings of the Sun" (1963).

Below: Ronnie hit a mini-trampoline for this explosion stunt in "Shenandoah" (1965).
(Actor George Kennedy was walking to the set and saw the stunt. He thought it was a real accident and rushed over to help Ronnie. Director of Photography Bill Clothier said it was the best individual stunt he had ever seen).

Below: Ronnie appeared in an episode of "Dragnet" entitled "The Big Kidnapping" (1967).

Below: Ronnie (left, in blue shirt) appeared in the cold war classic, "Ice Station Zebra" (1968). On the right is Patrick McGoohan.

Below: Ronnie was the stunt coordinator for the popular TV series, "The Mod Squad." Ronnie performed this stunt for the episode, "A Time to Love - A Time to Cry" (1968).

Below: Ronnie was the burning man on the cover of the classic Pink Floyd album, "Wish You Were Here" (1975). On the left is stuntman Danny Rogers.