Sep 11, 2014

Russ Saunders

Russell Maurice Saunders (1919-2001) 

Russ Saunders was born in Canada, and as a teen, became an expert at diving and gymnastics. He was offered diving scholarships at USC and UCLA but turned them down and went to Hollywood. He doubled stars including Gene Kelly, Alan Ladd, and Robert Cummings. Russ was a regular at the famed Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, CA and taught gymnastics there well in to his 70's. Russ was  a member of the Stuntmen's Association and a World War II veteran.

Russ worked on many well known films including "King Kong" (1933), "Samson and Delilah" (1949), "The Thing from Another World" (1951), "The Greatest Show on Earth" (1952), "Singin' in the Rain" (1952), "Spartacus" (1960), "The Poseidon Adventure" (1973), "Logan's Run" (1976), and "The Goonies" (1985).

Below: Russ made this leap off a bridge while handcuffed in Alfred Hitchcock's "Saboteur" (1942).

Below: Russ in costume.

Below: Russ was the model for Salvador Dali's painting, "Christ of Saint John of the Cross" (1951). Dali had Russ suspended from an overhead gantry, so he could see how the body would appear from the desired angle.

Below: Russ (right, grabbing man) is doubling Alan Ladd in the Western classic, "Shane" (1953)

Below: Doubling Richard Widmark, Russ was injured performing this fall for the film, "Broken Lance" (1954).

Below: Russ appeared in the Roger Corman produced cult classic, "Death Race 2000" (1975) starring David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone.

Russ doubling Gene Kelly in "The Three Musketeers" (1948)