LOS ANGELES (AP) – Hal Needham, a top Hollywood stuntman who
turned to directing rousing action films including "Smokey and the Bandit"
(1977) and "The Cannonball Run” (1981).
His business managers tell the Los Angeles Times that Needham died on
Friday in Los Angeles.
A former paratrooper, Needham was a billboard model for Viceroy Cigarettes
while beginning a career in Hollywood as a motion picture stuntman. He had
appeared in thousands of TV episodes and hundreds of movies, performing
and designing stunts and new equipment to execute them.
Needham jumped from planes, was dragged by horses and wrecked cars —
breaking 56 bones in the process. He received an honorary Oscar last year.