Movie News

Mike says goodbye to Smokey and the Bandit director Hal Needham

Mike says goodbye to Smokey and the Bandit director Hal Needham
Mike Smith

As “Smokey and the Bandit” is easily in my top 10 of all time favorite films I would be remiss if I didn’t remember the film’s creator, Hal Needham. Needham, whose Hollywood career took him from stunt man to director to Academy Award honoree, died earlier this week after a short battle with cancer. He was 82.

A paratrooper during the Korean war, the Arkansas-born Needham relocated to Hollywood after the war where he found work as a stuntman. After being hired to be Richard Boone’s stunt-double on the television western “Have Gun, Will Travel,” Needham quickly worked his way up to becoming one of the most sought after stuntmen in the business. In the 60s he worked in such classic westerns as “How the West Was Won,” “Little Big Man” and “McClintock.” He became Burt Reynold’s stunt-double and the two struck up a friendship that would last a lifetime. When he wasn’t standing in for Reynolds, Needham helped modernize the profession, introducing such safety features as inflatable air bags.

After getting a taste of filmmaking as a second unit director, Needham wrote a script entitled “Smokey and the Bandit” and showed it to his pal, Reynolds. Reynolds liked it so much he used his clout to get it made with Needham behind the camera. Since it’s 1977 debut, “Smokey and the Bandit” has grossed over $300 million worldwide.

Needham and Reynolds teamed up again for an inside look at the world of stuntmen with “Hooper.” Other Needham/Reynolds collaborations include “Cannonball Run” and it’s sequel as well as “Stroker Ace.” He also wrote and directed (4) “Bandit”-based television movies.

In 2012 he became the second stuntman, after Yakima Canutt, to receive an honorary Academy Award for his stunt pioneering and film career.

Share this story!Share on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Pin on PinterestDigg thisBuffer this pagePrint this pageShare on LinkedIn
(Visited 5 times, 5 visits today)
Movie News
Mike Smith

Michael Smith - quite possibly the world's biggest 'Jaws' fan - heads up Moviehole's international reviewing team.

More in Movie News

Ghostbusters Day 16

Reitman says Tatum-Pratt Ghostbusters isn’t real!?

Editorial StaffJul 31, 2015
Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect 2 featurette released ahead of DVD/BD bow next week!

Editorial StaffJul 31, 2015
British actor Daniel Radcliffe poses for photographers on the red carpet as he arrives for the UK Premier of "Horns" in central London on October 20, 2014. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALLBEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images ORIG FILE ID: 534575666

Daniel Radcliffe joins the FBI for Imperium

AshJul 31, 2015
"Star Wars: Rogue One" Logo

Sherlock actor boards new Star Wars

Editorial StaffJul 31, 2015
beverlyhillscop

What’s the hold up on Beverly Hills Cop 4?

Editorial StaffJul 31, 2015
jenamalone

Batgirl in Batman v Superman!?

Editorial StaffJul 31, 2015
roomtrailer

Trailer : Room

Editorial StaffJul 31, 2015
lava

Watch Disney Pixar’s Lava here!

Editorial StaffJul 31, 2015
BLACK MASS

Trailer : Black Mass

Editorial StaffJul 31, 2015