Dar Robinson

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Dar Allen Robinson (March 26, 1947November 21, 1986) was a film stuntman and film actor.

Image:DarRobinson.jpg

Dar Robinson grew up in the film capital of the world and would become the greatest ever stunt man and stunt coordinator. While he had both the athletic ability and the courage to perform breathtaking exploits, he was a master technician who did meticulous planning and preparation. Never content with the status quo, Robinson constantly sought ways to take his profession to new levels that amazed producers and audiences alike. He originated the use of dragline cables instead of airbags for stunts that called for a jump from high places. This method provided the cameraman with the opportunity to film a top-down view of the stuntman as he fell without having to be concerned of accidentally showing the airbag on the ground.

Robinson's first major stunt was a 100 foot jump from a cliff into a river for actor Steve McQueen in the 1973 film, Papillon. An accomplished motorcycle rider, that same year he appeared as a motorcycle stunt man in the Clint Eastwood film, Magnum Force. In other noted stunts, he drove a car at 90 miles an hour over the edge of the Grand Canyon, jumping out at the last second and parachuting to the ground. His performances and innovative ideas made him much in demand and in 1979 he set a world record for a freefall from a helicopter, dropping an unheard of 311 feet into an airbag.

In a highly publicized feat, as the stunt double for actor Christopher Plummer in a 1979 film production, Dar Robinson did a 700 foot freefall from a deck on the world's tallest free-standing structure, the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada. He deployed a concealed parachute just 300' from the ground, safely landing on his feet and picking up the largest fee ever paid for a stunt. The following year, for a feature-length television documentary film called The World's Most Spectacular Stuntman, Robinson returned to Toronto to attempt a world record cable jump from the tower. Captured on film, on the first test of the cable a waterbag equal to Robinsonís weight smashed into the ground when the cable snapped. High winds and bad weather delayed the jump but on August 12, 1980, although visibly nervous on camera closeups, Dar Robinson lept from the tower's edge, plummeting more than 1,200 feet tied to nothing but a 1/8" bungy-type steel cable designed to stop him only a few feet above the ground.

Although he performed incredibly daring feats never attempted by others, during his 19 year career Dar Robinson's careful execution of well-planned stunts kept him from serious injury. However in 1986, on the set of the film Million Dollar Mystery, a freak accident took his life when his bike flew out from under him as he rode through the Arizona desert.

Dar Robinson is interred in the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. After his passing, a documentary on his life was made in 1988 titled The Ultimate Stuntman - A Tribute to Dar Robinson. His sons Troy and Shawn Robinson have both followed in their legendary father's footsteps.

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