Legendary stuntman and stunt coordinator Loren Janes, who doubled for Steve McQueen for the actor’s entire career, as well as for Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, and even Debbie Reynolds, died Saturday at the age of 85, according to his family.
Janes made his Hollywood debut in 1954 with an eighty-foot cliff dive for an Esther Williams movie. He went on to perform stunt work in such classic films as “The Ten Commandments,” “Spartacus,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “Planet of the Apes,” and “The Towering Inferno.”
When the late Debbie Reynolds jumped off a train onto a cactus in “How The West Was Won,” that was Janes.
In more than 500 films and thousands of television shows, Janes did stunt work for nearly every major star of his era, including Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas, Charles Bronson, Robert Wagner, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Yul Brunner, and Frank Sinatra.
Off-screen, Janes co-founded the Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures and Television in 1961 and served as the National Chair of the Screen Actors Guild Stunt and Safety Committee.
In 2001, Janes received the Stuntmen Association’s lifetime achievement award for work in Westerns, the Golden Boot.
More recently, Janes suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease.
“As a family, we will always remember his astonishing life force, his compelling honesty, his outrageous sense of humor, and surprising gentleness,” a statement from the Janes family read. “He was fiercely loyal and loving. And we loved him in return. We were proud to be his family.”