google10fa0980c6101c7f.html The Many Faces of Death: STUNTS GONE WRONG


The stories mentioned on this site are of real deaths (famous or otherwise), and may contain graphic pics, text and/or videos. This site is NOT for the squeamish or Faint of Heart! You have been warned.

Strange as their stories may be, they were flesh and blood once, and were loved by people who knew them. Let's respect the deaths of those who have been mentioned....


Ormer Locklear - Stunt Flyer

Leslie 'Lock' Locklear (October 28, 1891 – August 2, 1920) was a daredevil stunt flyer during and immediately after World War I.
Born in Greenville, Texas, Locklear was brought up in Fort Worth, and trained as a carpenter. While still at school he was a daredevil performer of tricks in and on moving vehicles. He worked as a house-builder, and married Ruby Graves in 1915.
Locklear became fascinated by flying, trying to build his own glider, so when World War I involved the US in 1917, he joined the U.S. Army Air Service. He trained in Austin, at Camp Dick and Barron Field, becoming a flying instructor. Locklear was an exponent of wing walking to make aircraft repairs in flight.
A 2nd Lieutenant at the end of the war, he had been assigned to military recruitment when he saw a barnstorming show, and realised his own usual flying exploits were far more impressive. Locklear left the army to join the show with two military colleagues, Milton 'Skeets' Elliott and Shirley Short. They soon obtained aircraft and formed their own show, performing far and wide. This opened the way to a movie career in California, where they performed aerial stunts for the camera.
Locklear and Elliott died in 1920 after an aerial manoeuvre while filming Locklear's second movie, The Skywayman It happened at the De Mille Airfield near Los Angeles. While filming the finale by night, Elliott had to dive the plane, carrying himself and Locklear, towards some oil derricks and appear to crash it. He forewarned the lighting crew to douse their lights when he got near the derricks, so that he could see to pull out of the dive; the lights remained full on, blinding him, and he crashed. The movie showed the crash and its aftermath in gruesome detail.
Viola Dana was in a relationship with Locklear and witnessed the crash. Dana describes Locklear's aerial accident in a profoundly personal way in the documentary called HOLLYWOOD: Hazard of the Game (1980).
Locklear and Elliott were buried in Fort Worth after huge funeral ceremonies, both there and in Los Angeles.


Noah's Ark - 1928 Film

Noah’s Ark is a 1928 American early romantic melodrama disaster film directed by Michael Curtiz and written by Darryl F. Zanuck. The film starred George O'Brien and Dolores Costello. Released by Warner Bros. studio, the film was important in that it was representative of the transition from silent movies to “talkies”, although it was essentially a kind of film known as a part-talkie, utilizing new (at that time) Vitaphone sound-on-disc technology.
During the filming of the climactic flood scene, the great volume of water used was so overwhelming that three extras drowned, one was so badly injured that his leg needed to be amputated, and a number suffered broken limbs and other serious injuries and led to implementation of stunt safety regulations the following year. Dolores Costello caught a severe case of pneumonia. John Wayne and Andy Devine appeared among the hundreds of extras in the flood scene. Wayne also worked in the prop department for the film.


Paul Mantz - Stunt Flyer

The Flight of the Phoenix is a 1965 American film produced and directed by Robert Aldrich and based on the 1964 novel The Flight of the Phoenix by Elleston Trevor.
The story describes the struggle of several men to survive an emergency landing of their airplane in the Sahara desert.

L-R: Paul Mantz, Amelia Earhart,
Harry Manning and Fred Noonan,
Oakland, California, March 17, 1937
Mantz died on July 8, 1965 while working on this film. Flying a very unusual aircraft, the Tallmantz Phoenix P-1 built especially for the film, Mantz struck a small hillock while skimming over a desert site in Arizona for a second take. As Mantz attempted to recover by opening the throttle to its maximum the over-stressed aircraft broke in two and nosed over into the ground, killing Mantz instantly. (Bobby Rose, a stuntman standing behind Mantz in the cockpit and representing a character played by Hardy Kruger, was seriously injured.)

The FAA investigation noted Mantz's alcohol consumption before the flight and said the resulting impairment to his "efficiency and judgment" contributed to the accident. Thirteen years later his business partner Frank Tallman also died in an aviation mishap.

Some who were with Mantz during the shoot dispute that he was flying under the influence. It should be noted that the toxicology tests were performed several hours after the accident; at that time it was not understood that, in the absence of refrigeration, normal postmortem biochemical processes produce blood ethanol and yield a false indication of BAC level. The Civil Aeronautics Board findings of blood alcohol and pilot impairment may well be incorrect.
The final credits of The Flight of the Phoenix bear a tribute to Paul Mantz: "It should be remembered... that Paul Mantz, a fine man and a brilliant flyer, gave his life in the making of this film..."

I'm not a stunt pilot. I'm a precision pilot.
— Paul Mantz, 1934


SHARK! (also known as Caine)

Pic by Wiki user Tired time
Shark! (also known as Caine) is a 1969 American action film directed by Samuel Fuller and starring Burt Reynolds. The film was based on the Victor Canning novel His Bones are Coral with the original screeplay written by Ken Hughes. When Fuller joined the project, he rewrote the script and retitled it Caine.

Reynolds plays Caine, a gunrunner who becomes stranded in a small port in the Red Sea. He meets a seductive woman who propositions him to dive into shark-infested waters off the coast for scientific research. However, when Caine realizes the woman and her partner are actually treasure hunters, the action starts to heat up both above and below the water.

While the plot is set in Sudan (North Africa), the movie was actually filmed in Mexico.

During production, one of the film's stuntmen was attacked and killed on camera by what was supposed to be a sedated shark. When the production company used the death to promote the film, (even retitling the film to Shark!) Fuller, who had been arguing with the producers on several major issues relating to the film, quit the production.

When Samuel Fuller finally saw the version that was released to theaters, he said it was so badly butchered he demanded the producers take his name off it. The producers refused.
The film was re-released as Man-Eater by Legacy Entertainment Inc. in 2003.


A. J. Bakunas

Albert John Bakunas was a stunt man who died doubling for George Kennedy in a fall from the Kincaid Towers in Lexington, Kentucky for the film Steel.

Born in Fort Lee, New Jersey, Bakunas quit his job as a gym teacher at Tenafly (N.J.) High School in 1974 and set out to break into the film industry. He did his first stuntwork for the 1975 film Dog Day Afternoon. Bakunas quickly became known for expertly performing falls from great heights.

Bakunas had set a world record for a 230 foot fall from a helicopter for the film Hooper, which was broken by Dar Robinson's 286 foot fall for a non-movie related publicity stunt. Bakunas, determined to retake the record, returned to Lexington to perform a 315 foot jump from the 22nd floor of a construction site, where he had previously successfully fallen nine stories. On September 21, 1978, as a crowd of about 1,000 watched, Bakunas performed the fall expertly. However, the airbag split and Bakunas died of his injuries the next day.

Tragically, his father was in attendance for the first time when the accident happened - his mother always feared he would be killed.   Ironically, the completed structure, Kincaid Towers, became home to a life insurance company that eventually went bankrupt.

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Krishnan Nair (Malayalam: കൃഷ്ണന്‍ നായര്‍, July 25, 1939 – November 16, 1980), better known by his stage name Jayan (Malayalam: ജയന്‍), was an Indian film actor, former sailor, stunt performer and 1970s style icon. He worked in Malayalam cinema, a sector of the Indian movie industry. During his film career, he was primarily an action star and was particularly famous for his macho image and unique style. He was reputed for his chauvinistic appeal, masculine persona and well known for performing stunts of dangerous nature on his own. By late 1970s, he became the most popular lead actor and commercial superstar of malayalam film industry and has been acclaimed as the first action hero of Malayalam cinema.

Jayan was an Indian Navy officer before he came to films and rose to fame as an actor in a very short time, appearing as an action hero in numerous films during the 1970s.

He died at the age of 41, at the peak of his popularity, as a result of an accident while filming a dangerous stunt involving a flying helicopter that crashed while he was hanging on to it.
He has since then become a legendary symbol of daredevilry and masculinity with numerous inspirations, imitations, his unfading popularity being widely used to promote newage movies, actors and brands and an evergrowing fanbase spanning generations.

A film titled Avatharam presently under production, is attempting to bring back his screen persona using advanced technologies. A documentary on Jayan's life and death Jayan - The Man behind the Legend is nearing completion for release on the occasion of his 31st death anniversary.


On 16 November 1980, Jayan was killed in an accident on the set of the movie Kolilakkam (English: Shockwave). The climax scene of the movie was being filmed in Sholavaram, near Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Jayan always performed his own stunts, and for this movie he was performing a particularly dangerous stunt that involved him climbing aboard a flying helicopter from a moving motorbike. The shot was accepted by the director in the first take; altogether three shots were filmed.

According to the film's production executive, Jayan insisted on yet another re-take as he was not satisfied with its perfection. During the re-take, the helicopter lost its balance and crashed along with Jayan, who later succumbed to his injuries.
After his death was confirmed, a slide was added during the theatre show of his movie Deepam which was running in packed houses, informing his death to the viewers who witnessed it with absolute shock and disbelief. A large number of his fans burst into tears and ran out of the buildings while many continued to watch the movie, refusing to believe it and taking it for a genius promotion for some upcoming project.
Some conspiracy theories emerged regarding the circumstances of his death, primarily because the pilot and his co-star Balan K. Nair, who was in the helicopter, survived with minor or no injuries. Nevertheless, it has been confirmed as a genuine accident.



  1. ninnay kurichulla ormakal deepamayi theliyum ennullil

  2. I have read most of the stories and seen many movies in which the stunt man suffered bad injuries yet all the credit went to the main character of the movie. Previously the safety measures were very bad. Nowadays with the advancement of technology some stunts are carried out through animation without endangering the lives of the people..

    Arnold Brame

    1. You are so right! And that's great to know!
      Yeah for technology! :)

  3. But in the case of JAYAN he never made suffer to the stunt men.he have done his own stunts.and sacrificed his life for his profession, even he died before 3 decades now a days also he remembered like BRUCE LEE.

  4. Yes, the great JAYAN was reluctant to keep others to face risky adventurous shots on his behalf .He is a legend and still lives in the hearts of all.Since he was in our small Kerala, his popularity couldn't cross the borders...but even now, in India and other countries, when people see his movies while Keralites play them...they are awestruck with his daredevil performances!! He would have been an international star...such was his charisma: style of walking,attractive smile, unique dialogue presentation,attractive smile, dancing skills( particularly the dance in incomplete film Garjanam) and daredevil stunts..he was getting polished after every film as a talented was a "loss in November..." still when I see Hollywood and other western movies, Jayan is replaced by me ..... salute to the legendary actor! (Joseph Mathew)

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