Hal Needham dies

Legendary stuntman also found fame as a director.

by Jennie Kermode

Hal Needham, one of Hollywood's greatest stuntmen, has died at the age of 82. The director of several hit films including Smokey And The Bandit and Cannonball Run, he was also an inventor whose creations, designed to make more daring stunts possible, went on to be used more widely and save lives.

Needham's life was never short of action. He served as a paratrooper during the Korean War before going on to train with film industry great Chuck Roberson and set up his own company, Stunts Unlimited. His work can be seen in over 300 films and he worked up to the age of 63. The exceptional skill and daring that he brought to the industry was recognised with a special award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. He is survived by his son, David Needham, who works in props and set design.

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