Hal Needham (1931 - 2013)

    - Valenda Newell
  • "Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us. Rest..."
    - Harry Simpson
  • "I loved Hal as a friend, and I miss him. We had some fun..."
    - Alan Maki
  • "always wanted to meet him. His great work will live on..."
    - david timmerman
  • "To the Needham family my heartfelt condolences are with..."
    - Leia

Hal Needham in 1983 (AP Photo / AMPAS)
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Hal Needham, a top Hollywood stuntman who turned to directing rousing action films including "Smokey and the Bandit" and "The Cannonball Run," has died. He was 82.

His business managers tell the Los Angeles Times that Needham died Friday in Los Angeles.

A former paratrooper, Needham appeared in thousands of TV episodes and hundreds of movies, performing and designing stunts and new equipment to execute them.

Needham jumped from planes, was dragged by horses and wrecked cars - breaking 56 bones in the process.

His best-known directing efforts involved 1970s Burt Reynolds action comedies, including "Smokey," "Cannonball Run" and "Stroker Ace." He also directed Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Villain."

In a Twitter posting, Schwarzenegger calls Needham an icon.

Needham received an honorary Oscar last year.

Copyright © 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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