Stuntman!

My Car-Crashing, Plane-Jumping, Bone-Breaking, Death-Defying Hollywood Life
By Hal Needham (Hardcover Book, 2011)
Yep that's me, Hal Needham, on the cover doing a fire stunt. When you're on fire you don't dare breathe because if you do, you'll suck those flames right down your throat. I was Hollywood's highest paid stuntman so I should know.

I wrecked hundreds of cars, fell from tall buildings, got blown up, was dragged by horses, and along the way broke 56 bones, my back twice, punctured a lung and knocked out a few teeth...I hung upside down by my ankles under a bi-plane in The Spirit of St. Louis, jumped between galloping horses in Little Big Man, set a world record for a boat stunt on Gator, jumped a rocket powered pick-up truck across a canal for a GM commercial, was the first human to test the car airbag-and taught John Wayne how to really throw a movie punch.

Life also got exciting outside of the movie business. I had my Ferrari stolen right from under my nose, flew in a twin-engine Cessna with a passed out pilot, rescued the cast and crew from a Russian invasion in Czechoslovakia, and once took six flight attendants on a date. I owned the Skoal-Bandit NASCAR race team, the sound-barrier breaking Budweiser Rocket Car and drove a souped-up, fake ambulance in a "little" cross-country race called The Cannonball Run, which became the movie I directed by the same name. Oh yeah, I also directed Smokey and the Bandit, Hooper and several other action/comedy movies that I liked a bunch.

I was a sharecropper's son from the hills of Arkansas who became a Hollywood stuntman. That journey was a tough row to hoe. I continually risked my life but that was the career I chose. I was never late to the set and did whatever I had to do to get the job done.

Hollywood's not all sunglasses and autographs. Let me tell you a few stories...
  • Little, Brown and Company
    • Format: Hardcover Book

    • Price: $25.99 US/$28.99 CAN

    • ISBN-13: 9780316078993

    • On Sale Date: 02/09/2011

    • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

    Formats Available: Hardcover Book, Electronic Book

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Yep that's me, Hal Needham, on the cover doing a fire stunt. When you're on fire you don't dare breathe because if you do, you'll suck those flames right down your throat. I was Hollywood's highest paid stuntman so I should know.

I wrecked hundreds of cars, fell from tall buildings, got blown up, was dragged by horses, and along the way broke 56 bones, my back twice, punctured a lung and knocked out a few teeth...I hung upside down by my ankles under a bi-plane in The Spirit of St. Louis, jumped between galloping horses in Little Big Man, set a world record for a boat stunt on Gator, jumped a rocket powered pick-up truck across a canal for a GM commercial, was the first human to test the car airbag-and taught John Wayne how to really throw a movie punch.

Life also got exciting outside of the movie business. I had my Ferrari stolen right from under my nose, flew in a twin-engine Cessna with a passed out pilot, rescued the cast and crew from a Russian invasion in Czechoslovakia, and once took six flight attendants on a date. I owned the Skoal-Bandit NASCAR race team, the sound-barrier breaking Budweiser Rocket Car and drove a souped-up, fake ambulance in a "little" cross-country race called The Cannonball Run, which became the movie I directed by the same name. Oh yeah, I also directed Smokey and the Bandit, Hooper and several other action/comedy movies that I liked a bunch.

I was a sharecropper's son from the hills of Arkansas who became a Hollywood stuntman. That journey was a tough row to hoe. I continually risked my life but that was the career I chose. I was never late to the set and did whatever I had to do to get the job done.

Hollywood's not all sunglasses and autographs. Let me tell you a few stories...

Hal Needham's career has included work on 4,500 television episodes and 310 feature films. He directed 10 features, including the classics Smokey and the Bandit, Hooper, and The Cannonball Run. He set trends in movies (the first director to show outtakes during end credits) and NASCAR (the first team owner to use telemetry technology). His Skoal-Bandit race team was one of the most popular NASCAR teams ever - second only to that of The King, Richard Petty. Hal set Guinness World Records and was the financier and owner of the Budweiser Rocket Car (now on display in the Smithsonian Museum), the first land vehicle to break the sound barrier - travelling at 739.666 mph. The highest paid stuntman in the world, he has broken fifty-six bones and his back (twice), was the first human to test the car airbag, and has fought for the respect and recognition that stuntmen and stuntwomen deserve for their contribution to the world of moviemaking. His many awards include an Emmy and an Academy Award.

  • Hal Needham talks about his new book STUNTMAN!


  • Stuntman! by Hal Needham

  • PRAISE FOR STUNTMAN!:

    "Hal Needham set the gold standard for Hollywood stuntmen and every page of his memoir reads like the greatest movies -- it's full of incredible stories as told by a real man of action."

  • "Stuntman, Director and everything in-between. Hal Needham is top of the line."

  • "Stuntmen, I'm a huge fan of theirs. Never wanted to be John Wayne, I wanted to be Hal Needham."

  • "Hal Needham has always seemed to be a guy who has total command in every situation he is in. I can't imagine having a better director for my acting debut in "Hooper" than Hal-and now that he finally put his life story on paper, I can't imagine a book I'd rather read."

  • "The Twentieth Century produced two amazing men, Albert Einstein and Hal Needham. Both were geniuses, but one was a truly outrageous, gifted, unique, and fearless director who touched all of our lives with wisdom, kindness, and LAUGHTER!" (Two time Academy Award winner for The Godfather and Million Dollar Baby and Producer of The Cannonball Run I & II and Megaforce movies).

  • "One of my goals in life was to be a stuntman.  Hal Needham helped me to realize a small part of that ambition.  I worked with him on many films.  He was the best."

  • "One of Hollywood's great stunt innovators!" (IMDB.com).

Formats

Product Details

Stuntman!
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Price: $25.99 US/$28.99 CAN
  • Pages: 320
  • Physical Dimensions: 6" x 9-1/4"
  • ISBN-13: 9780316078993
  • On Sale Date: 02/09/2011
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