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'Cannonball Run,' 'Smokey And The Bandit' Director/Stuntman Hal Needham Dead At 82

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You might know Hal Needham's name, but you probably know his work. He was the director and stuntman behind some of the 1970s most beloved car movies and their most spectacular crashes, including Cannonball Run and Smokey and the Bandit. He died last Friday at the age of 82.

A close friend and long-time associate of Burt Reynolds, Needham had a hand in many of Reynolds' other projects, too, including White Lightning and The Longest Yard, as well as work on the original Star Trek series, among dozens of other films and TV shows.

Needham is also credited with developing the high-fall airbag stuntmen use to land their spectacular on-screen leaps, as well as a pyrotechnic cannon that fires into the ground to flip moving cars for screen-worthy epic crashes.

For his various works, Needham was awarded an honorary Oscar in 2012, presented by Quentin Tarantino--a huge fan of Needham's work--as shown in the video above.

Needham started out in a poor Arkansas family before working his way into Hollywood and, eventually, movie history over the course of his more than 40-year career. Needham is only the second stuntman ever to be awarded an Oscar. He will be missed.

 

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