Veteran actor and cowboy stuntman Bill Hart, who worked with John Wayne on The Alamo and was blown off his horse in a daring stunt on Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, has died. He was 80. “He was a real cowboy,” his longtime pal and fellow stuntman Roydon Clark told Deadline today. “He cowboyed in this business with the best of ’em.”
Hart, a longtime member of the Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures, got his start as a stuntman in 1960 on Alamo and would go on to perform and coordinate stunts on more than 50 films and TV shows, including two more with The Duke: McLintock! and The Comancheros. He was Glenn Ford’s stunt double on numerous films including Day Of The Evil Gun. As good with his fists as he was with a horse, he can be seen brawling or riding on such films as Dual At Diablo, The Rounders and Heaven’s Gate, and on classic TV shows such as Gunsmoke and Rawhide.
For a stunt on The Wild Bunch, an explosion – using real dynamite – blew Hart and several other stuntmen and their horses from a bridge into a river in Mexico, killing one of the horses.
With a face like an old roadmap of Texas, where he was born and died, Hart also worked as an actor on more than 50 films and TV shows – most of them Westerns.
“He was the real thing,” Clark said. “He was an everyday guy. He had a good reputation and was liked by all. He was a good stuntman and a good husband. He was a guy you enjoyed working with, being on location with, and calling a fellow stuntman. He had a great journey. I’m sorry to hear that it came to an end.”
His son, stuntman Chuck Hart, died in 2010 of kidney failure.