lovin her was easier / tompall glaser
Yakima Canutt Actor / Stuntman
In the 20’s or 30’s real Cowboys were often recruited to Star in Westerns – like Tim McCoy, Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson, Ken Maynard, Wild Bill Elliott .etc.
And who could be a realer Cowboy than Yakima Canutt?
So in 1919, established Western Star and former rodeo contestant Tom Mix, invited Yak to be in 2 of his movies. Later Yak got his first stunt work in a serial called Lightning Bryce; Starring Jack Hoxie.
Yak eventually worked with John Wayne 30 times and was also a stunt double for (among others) Roy Rogers, Gene Autry …
Acting, however, was not really a high factor in many early Westerns – they weren’t even ‘Talkies’, which helped a helluva lot to excuse less than sterling performances. Sometime later however, the great Western Director John Ford was given to say: “It is easier to get an actor to be a cowboy than to get a cowboy to be an actor.” (Do I detect a tinge of bitterness in there?) Thus the movement to recruit Cowboys as actors (with some noted exceptions like Slim Pickens and Ben Johnson) started to come to an end.
Let’s put it this way: Yak, was not a natural actor. He was pretty wooden with not much range of emotion – and absent a bit on that mysterious stuff called charisma. He was not destined to be a big Western Star. He still did damn well though – worked in over 300 movies: Acting, Stunting and Directing.
Golden Boot Award
Yak was eventually awarded the Golden Boot Award in 1984 – which recognized the achievements of Cowboy film heroes and heroines, as well as writers, directors, stunt people and character actors who had significant involvement in the film and TV Westerns.
Yakima Canutt Selected filmography (Wikipedia)
Yakima’s film credits are massive – over 300 movies as either Actor, Stuntman and action Director.
Too much to list here … so this is an impressive abbreviated list:
- Sagebrush Trail (1933)
- West of the Divide (1934)
- The Man From Utah (1934)
- Lawless Range (1935)
- Stagecoach (1939) second unit director, stunt coordinator, and stunts/Cavalry scout, all uncredited
- Gone With the Wind (1939) as man who attacks Scarlett while riding through shanty town; also uncredited stunt coordinator/stunt double for Clark Gable
- Ivanhoe (1952) second unit director
- Knights of the Round Table (1953) second unit director, uncredited
- The Lawless Rider (1954) director
- King Richard and the Crusaders (1954) second unit director
- Old Yeller (1957) second unit director
- Ben-Hur (1959) second unit director
- Swiss Family Robinson (1960) second unit director
- El Cid (1961) second unit director
- The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) second unit director
- Cat Ballou (1965) second unit director; executive in charge of production; uncredited stunt coordinator
- Khartoum (1966) second unit director
- Where Eagles Dare (1968) second unit director
- A Man Called Horse (1970) second unit director
- Rio Lobo (1970) second unit director
- Breakheart Pass (1975) second unit director
- 1959 – National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Special Citation shared with Andrew Marton for directing the chariot race in Ben-Hur
- 1967 – Academy Honorary Award for achievements as a stunt man and for developing safety devices to protect stunt men everywhere
- 1976 – Inducted into National Cowboy Hall of Fame
- 1978 – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences “A tribute to Yakima Canutt” dinner
- 1984 – The Motion Picture & Television Fund’s Golden Boot Award
- Hollywood Walk of Fame star at 1500 Vine Street.