Bexhill Rotary enjoyed a humorous talk full of anecdotes about Hollywood Stars from former film stuntman Jim Dowdall at their recent Dining In Night celebrating the anniversary of the club being chartered in 1922.
Richard Harrison said: “Jim told us of his fascinating life including attending the same private school as Prince Charles and both of them being teased for their bat ears. He went on to join the army and became a paratrooper.I He was trained during his career to use any weapon from a Deringer revolver to a Howitzer cannon .
Not only did he perform many stunts in blockbusters such as The Dirty Dozen he also acted as armourer or assistant armourer in charge of and the use of weapons by such actors as Lee Marvin Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood in films including A Bridge Too Far and Where Eagles Dare .
When working on The Dirty Dozen he was tasked with explaining to Lee Marvin how to operate a World War Two machine gun without appreciating that Marvin had served in the US Army during the war as a machine gunner and had been wounded and decorated for bravery. Marvin took it all in good spirits and referred to Jim’s advice 5 years later when they met again on set when Jim was doing a stunt of a motorcycle crash.
In another film staring Sir Laurence Olivier, Jim had to fire a gun at a painting making a hole in the painting and came up with the idea of him firing a second gun with a live round at the painting over the great man’s shoulder as Sir Laurence in the action fired at the same time.
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