25 October 2013 3:10 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Hal Needham, longtime stuntman and director of “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Cannonball Run” for Burt Reynolds, has died in Los Angeles after a short battle with cancer, his manager confirmed. He was 82.

At one time the highest paid stuntman in the world, he was said to have broken 56 bones, broken his back twice, punctured a lung and knocked out a few teeth while working on 4500 TV episodes and 310 feature films.

Needham, a native of Tennessee, broke into show business as a stunt double for Richard Boone on the series “Have Gun, Will Travel.” He worked as a stuntman on “How the West Was Won,” “The Bridge at Remagen,” “McLintock!” and “Little Big Man.”

He became friends with Reynolds, who offered Needham the opportunity to direct “Smokey and the Bandit,” for which Needham had written the screenplay. Needham also directed “Hooper,” “The Cannonball Run,” “Stroker Ace” and “Rad.”

Needham received »


- Dave McNary

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