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Hal Needham: Legendary stuntman and director was known for his camera, prod'n innovations.

Hal Needham, longtime stuntman and director of "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Cannonball Run" for Burt Reynolds, died Oct. 25 in Los Angeles after a short battle with cancer. He was 82.

At one time the highest paid stuntman in the world, Needham was said to have broken 56 bones, his back twice, punctured a lung and knocked out a few teeth while working on 4,500 TV episodes and 310 films.

Needham, a native of Tennessee, broke into show business as a stunt double for Richard Boone on the series "Have Gun, Will Travel." He worked as a stuntman on "How the West Was Won," "The Bridge at Remagen," "McLintock!" and "Little Big Man."

He became friends with Reynolds, who offered him the opportunity to direct "Smokey and the Bandit," for which Needham had written the screenplay. Needham also directed "Hooper;' "The Cannonball Run" "Stroker Ace" and "Rad."

Needham received a Governors Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences last year.

He developed numerous camera and production innovations.

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Title Annotation:REMEMBERED
Publication:Variety
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 29, 2013
Words:172
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