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Cowboy Stuntman: From Olympic Gold to the…

Cowboy Stuntman: From Olympic Gold to the Silver Screen

by Dean Smith

Other authors: James Garner (Foreword)

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What an amazing life! Dean Smith grew up in Texas. His mother died when he was very young and his father was alcoholic and he was raised by his grandparents. A Texan through and through, he worked on the ranches and with horses and began rodeoing at a young age. He was also interested in sports – particularly football and track. It was in track that he participated in numerous national events and made the 1952 Olympic Team where he was part of the 4x100 team that won the gold medal for the U.S. He was picked up by the Los Angeles Rams but always had it in his mind to work in the movies. A friendship with Jim Bumgarner (James Garner) got him introduced to some folks and he began his career as a stuntman and actor, most noticeably in many John Wayne films such as The Alamo, The Comancheros, McLintock, Big Jake, True Grit and El Dorado. He was a good stuntman with great principles and, probably if he had started a few years earlier, would have made a name for himself as an actor. His personal life had ups and downs with several divorces, a wife who was severely injured in a car accident and left paralyzed, but he seems to have found happiness with wife #4 where they live in Texas and work the land that has been in the family since the mid 1800’s. The book was well written and hard to put down. I really enjoyed hearing about Smith’s various horses who, like Trigger, could perform great tricks and always made the rider look good. He provided some great stories of working with John Wayne, Dale Robertson, James Garner, Roy Rogers, Good Chuck Hayward, and Bad Chuck Roberson. I wish there had been some more stories of folks like Richard Boone, Robert Mitchum, and others that were mentioned in passing. Smith is currently fighting cancer but with the gumption and perseverance that he pursued his athletic and film career, he will make it. Like Smith, I am sad at the demise of the Western film which essentially put him out of business as a stuntman although he did have roles in The Sting, The Great Waldo Pepper, The Streets of San Francisco, Earthquake, Airport, and many others. A fascinating look at the career of a stuntman and some wonderful photos of Smith with his beautiful horses Sunday and Hollywood. ( )
  knahs | Aug 5, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dean Smithprimary authorall editionscalculated
Garner, JamesForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0896727890, Hardcover)

Dean Smith has taken falls from galloping horses, engaged in fistfights with Kirk Douglas and George C. Scott, donned red wig and white tights to double Maureen O’Hara, and taught Goldie Hawn how to talk like a Texan.
         He’s dangled from a helicopter over the skyscrapers of Manhattan while clutching a damsel in distress, hung upside down from a fake blimp 200 feet over the Orange Bowl, and replicated one of the most famous scenes in movie history by climbing on a thundering team of horses to stop a runaway stagecoach.
         Cowboy Stuntman chronicles the life and achievements of this colorful Texan and Olympic gold medal winner who spent a half century as a Hollywood stuntman and actor, appearing in ten John Wayne movies and doubling for a long list of actors as diverse as Robert Culp, Michael Landon, Steve Martin, Strother Martin, Robert Redford, and Roy Rogers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:38 -0400)

""Chronicles the life and achievements of Dean Smith, a Texan and Olympic gold medal winner who became a Hollywood stuntman and actor"--Provided by publisher"--

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