Stunt Memorial: Bass, Bobby (RIP)

Bobby Bass

Born: 1936 Passed: 2001

Bobby Bass 65, was a stuntman whose daring feats appeared in more than 40 films; during a career spanning 35 years he crashed cars, jumped off buildings and took punches for numerous Hollywood actors including John Wayne, Burt Reynolds and Sylvester Stallone.

Bobby Bass was born in California in 1936 and from an early age showed an interest in martial arts, particularly judo. As a teenager, he competed in judo championships, where he met Gene LeBell. He followed LeBell into the stunt business and demonstrated an aptitude for setting himself on fire and landing on cardboard boxes and airbags.

By the late 1970s and early 1980s, Bass was doing stunts for a number of high-profile Hollywood films, including Smokey and the Bandit (1977), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Scarface (1983), and the crime film To Live and Die in LA (1985), for which he he was awarded a Stunt Man Award for best vehicular stunt in 1986.

Bass was regarded as a master of every technique from unarmed combat to high falls. Besides performing the stunts, he forged a lucrative career as a stunt co-ordinator and taught many actors stunt tricks such as headbutting – demonstrated by Mel Gibson in the Lethal Weapon films – martial arts, weapons handling and fist-fighting. Occasionally, he would both co-ordinate and perform stunts, as in Thelma and Louise (1991), which ended with a spectacular car dive off a cliff.

Bass campaigned for many years for safer conditions for stunt men and women. In 1980, when Heidi von Beltz, was paralysed during a stunt-car crash on the set of Cannonball Run. Two years later, the actor Vic Morrow and two children died during the making of Twilight Zone: the Movie. After these and other accidents, Bass helped set up a safety council.

In later life he kept performing inventive and athletic stuntsand played minor tough guy roles. Bass was always courteous and kind in his private life. He gave up doing stunts after the onset of Parkinson’s disease, although he still co-ordinated them. He is survived by his wife, Norma, whose daughter is the actress Bo Derek. End of Days (1999),Desperate Measures (1998), Money Talks (1997),Batman & Robin (1997),Eraser (1996), Mulholland Falls (1996),Executive Decision (1996)… aka Critical Decision (1996),Village of the Damned (1995),

… aka John Carpenter’s Village of the Damned (1995) (USA: complete title) Terminal Velocity (1994), True Lies (1994),Baby’s Day Out (1994),Rising Sun (1993),Last Action Hero (1993),Falling Down (1993)..aka Chute libre (1993/II) (France),Bodyguard, The (1992),Dracula (1992),..aka Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) (USA: complete title),Patriot Games (1992),Lethal Weapon 3 (1992),Dutch (1991)..aka Driving Me Crazy (1991) Thelma & Louise (1991) (stunt co-ordinator),Perfect Weapon, The (1991)(as Bob Bass),Rocky V (1990) (stunt co-ordinator),Black Rain (1989) (stunt co-ordinator),Action Jackson (1988),Tequila Sunrise (1988) (stunt co-ordinator),Twins (1988) (stunts)

Rampage (1988),Wild Pair, The (1987)..aka Devil’s Odds, The (1987),Predator (1987),Lethal Weapon (1987) (stunt co-ordinator),Let’s Get Harry (1986) (stunt co-ordinator)..aka Rescue, The (1986) Wraith, The (1986),8 Million Ways to Die (1986),Legend of Billie Jean, The (1985) (stunt co-ordinator)

To Live and Die in L.A. (1985),Warning Sign (1985) (stunt co-ordinator), Doctor Detroit (1983),Scarface (1983),Star Chamber, The (1983),Osterman Weekend, The (1983),Independence Day (1983)..aka Follow Your Dreams (1983)

Stroker Ace (1983),Sting II, The (1983),Sharky’s Machine (1981),Incredible Shrinking Woman, The (1981),Smokey and the Bandit II (1980)..aka Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again (1980) (UK),Hunter, The (1980),Blues Brothers, The (1980),When Time Ran Out.(1980),..aka Day the World Ended, The (1980)..aka Earth’s Final Fury (1980),Corvette Summer (1978) (stunt co-ordinator) ..aka Hot One, The (1978),Hooper (1978) (stunt co-ordinator) (stunts),Who’ll Stop the Rain (1978) (stunt co-ordinator)..aka Dog Soldiers (1978),Bound for Glory (1976)

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