STUNTS, STARS & LEGENDS March 2011
by John Hagner (Artist of the Stars)
Dean Smith drawn by John Hagner
Born in Breckenridge, Texas in 1932, Dean Smith, when he was two years old was raised by his paternal grand parents after his mother died. He spent Saturdays at the matinees watching cowboy stars Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, “Wild Bill” Elliott and Monte Hale, which led him eventually in the movies. He was an accomplished athlete when he attended Graham High School and became All American in the 100 yard dash. He went to the University of Texas and went out for football and track. He went to the Olympics in 1952 in Helsinki, Finland and won gold in the 400 meter relay. He also played for the Los Angeles Rams.
Dean was introduced to James Garner who helped him get into the movie business. During his long and successful career, he has doubled for such stars as Dale Robertson, Robert Redford and the like. He did stunts in 10 films for John Wayne. His first for Duke was “The Alamo” in 1959. It was his favorite.
He did the more dangerous stunts for Dale Robertson often and appeared in some of the classic westerns like “Cheyenne Autumn” (some scenes were filmed in and around Moab), “Rio Lobo”, “Rio Bravo”, “Ulzana’s Raid”, starring Burt Lancaster, “The Undefeated” (John Wayne and Rock Hudson), “Rio Conchos”, “Big Jake”, and starred as Kit Carson in “Seven Alone”.
Dean Smith doubled for Stuart Whitman in “Comancheros”. He has a coffee mug for each of the 10 films he worked in for John Wayne, including “Rio Bravo”, “The Alamo”, “How the West Was Won”, “McLintock!”, “In Harms Way”, “El Dorado”, “True Grit”, “Big Jake” and “Rio Lobo”. In “McLintock!” he doubled for Maureen O’Hara in a stair fall. Loren Janes doubled for Yvonne deCarlo and Chuck Roberson doubled for Duke.
The Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame has loaned several items of memorabilia to the Dan O’Laurie Museum, including the hat, shirt, neckerchief, vest and trousers that John Wayne wore in “Comancheros” and a few other films (these were given to John Hagner (Founder and CEO) of the Hall of Fame. Also in the exhibit are the dancing shoes that Gene Kelly wore in “Singin’ In the Rain”, starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. In addition, there is the whip, hat and torn shirt that Harrison Ford wore in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. While visiting Moab, why not stop by the museum and see the wonderful artifacts that are available.
The Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame is presently looking for a home to once again open its doors to the visiting public. Anyone interested in learning more about the Hall of Fame, contact its Founder, John Hagner at 435 260-2160, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Website is www.stuntmmen.org. Go to Facebook and look up Falling For Stars. Then to Artist of the Stars. Then Stunt Stars and Legends. Mailing address is 81 W. Kane Creek Blvd. - #12, Moab, Utah 84532.