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Buddy Van Horn (1928–2021), Clint Eastwood’s longtime stunt double

by Linnea Crowther

Buddy Van Horn was Clint Eastwood’s stunt double and the stunt coordinator for Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions.

Stuntman and director

Van Horn grew up around the movie industry, as his father was a large animal veterinarian for Universal Studios. He learned to ride horses young, and it was the ideal environment for him to begin his movie career as an extra when riding skills were called for. After serving in the U.S. Army for two years, Van Horn began his career as a stuntman. He was Guy Williams’ stunt double in the TV show “Zorro” as well as working as a stunt double for notable actors including Gregory Peck (1916–2003) and Jimmy Stewart (1908–1997).

Van Horn began working as Eastwood’s stunt double in 1967, and he remained a key part of Eastwood’s team for decades. In addition to doing Eastwood’s stunts and working as stunt coordinator on his films, Van Horn was also a director for Malpaso Productions. He directed the Eastwood films “Any Which Way but Loose,” “The Dead Pool,” and “Pink Cadillac,” and he was second unit director on “Magnum Force” and “The Rookie.”

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Van Horn on working with Eastwood

“It’s a dream job. I wake up sometimes and I can’t wait to get to work when I’m working with him. He makes things so easy for ya. … He takes all the pressure off you and that goes for coordinating action or anything you’ve done for him. He’s not worried about success, but he’s done well.” —from a 2011 interview for The Independent

Tributes to Buddy Van Horn

Full obituary: Los Angeles Times

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