Yakima Canutt

Highest Rated: 100% Stagecoach (1939)
Birthday: Nov 29, 1895
Birthplace: Not Available
Yakima Canutt was the most innovative stunt performer and coordinator ever to risk life and limb for the art of Hollywood illusion. Cheating death at every turn, many of the tricks of the trade he first developed in the Westerns of the silent era remain fixtures of the craft even today. Born Enos Edward Canutt on November 29, 1895, in Colfax, WA, he began working on ranches while in his youth and at the age of 17 signed on as a trick rider with a Wild West show, where he ultimately won the title of Rodeo World Champion. Billing himself as Eddie Canutt, "the Man From Yakima," in 1917 he met Hollywood cowboy star Tom Mix, who recruited him as a stunt man. Quickly he became one of the leading fall guys in the industry, with a knack for horse spills and wagon wrecks. Over and over again, Canutt brought Western reelers to a rousing finale by doubling as the hero as he leapt from his horse to tackle a villain attempting to flee from the long arm of the law. In 1920, Canutt first earned billing for his work in The Girl Who Dared. Soon his name was appearing in the credits of several Westerns each year, all highlighted by his daredevil antics. His reputation rested on his ability to mastermind larger-than-life sequences -- cattle stampedes, covered-wagon races, and the like -- as well as intricate battles between frontier settlers and their Indian rivals. He could also be counted on to leap from a cliff's top while on horseback, or from a stagecoach onto its runaway horse team. For his elaborately choreographed fight scenes, Canutt developed a new, more realistic method of throwing punches, positioning the action so that the camera filmed over the shoulder of the actor receiving the blow, with the punch itself coming directly toward the lens. With the addition of sound effects, the illusion of fisticuffs was complete, and the practice remains an essential component of the stunt man's craft today. Under Canutt's supervision, a number of rules and guidelines designed to improve stunt safety were established, all of them becoming industry standards. Indeed, to his credit no one was ever seriously injured in any of his films. Many of Canutt's most important innovations involved his use of rigging: In one such attempt to minimize the possibility of broken bones, he carefully rigged his stirrups to break open to allow his feet to release at the proper moment. He also rigged cable mechanisms to trigger stunt action, maintaining more control over his scenes to eliminate the possibility of catastrophe. Gene Autry, Roy Rogers -- nearly every major Western star -- owed much of his success to Canutt's daring; eventually, his mastery of the craft was such that scripts were penned without detailed descriptions of their fight scenes or chases, and "Action by Yakima Canutt" was simply written instead.By the mid-'20s, Canutt was starring in Westerns as well as handling stunts. However, as the sound era dawned he suffered an illness which stripped the resonance from his voice, effectively ending his career as a leading man and reducing him to turns as sidekicks and heavies. In 1932's serial The Shadow of the Eagle, he was cast alongside John Wayne, beginning a partnership that was to endure for many years; their most notable collaboration was the 1939 classic Stagecoach, where Canutt not only came aboard as the stunt supervisor but also appeared onscreen to take falls as a cowboy, an Indian, and even as a woman. In addition to keeping peace between Wayne and director John Ford, Canutt also performed one of the most legendary stunts in film history, a pulse-pounding pass under a moving stagecoach: Doubling as an Indian, he rode his horse ahead of the coach before attempting to leap over to its lead team and dropping to the ground; after a brief moment, he then released his grip and allowed the horses and the coach to pass over his body. As Canutt grew older, injuries began to take their toll, and he cut back on his rigorous schedule, making the transiti

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

CREDIT
No Score Yet Rocky Mountain Ryan 1950
No Score Yet The Showdown Davis 1950
No Score Yet G-Men Never Forget Director 1948
No Score Yet The Adventures of Frank and Jesse James Director 1948
No Score Yet Oklahoma Badlands Director 1948
No Score Yet Desert Command Actor 1946
No Score Yet My Pal Trigger Director 1946
No Score Yet Dakota Actor 1945
No Score Yet Along the Navajo Trail Director 1945
No Score Yet Captain Mephisto and the Transformation Machine Director 1945
No Score Yet Federal Operator 99 Director Actor 1945
No Score Yet San Fernando Valley Director 1944
No Score Yet In Old Oklahoma (War of the Wildcats) Actor 1943
No Score Yet King of the Cowboys Actor 1943
77% For Whom the Bell Tolls Young Cavalry Man 1943
No Score Yet Calling Wild Bill Elliott Soldier 1943
No Score Yet Song of Texas Rodeo Performer (uncredited) 1943
No Score Yet Bad Man of Deadwood Actor 1941
No Score Yet Nevada City Actor 1941
No Score Yet Prairie Pioneers Morrison 1941
No Score Yet The Ranger and the Lady McNair 1940
No Score Yet The Carson City Kid Pete the Bartender 1940
No Score Yet The Dark Command Townsman 1940
No Score Yet Calling Philo Vance Sailor 1940
No Score Yet Virginia City Stunts 1940
92% Gone With the Wind Renegade 1939
No Score Yet Wyoming Outlaw Ed Sims 1939
100% Stagecoach Cavalry Scout 1939
No Score Yet Santa Fe Stampede Ben Carey 1938
No Score Yet Overland Stage Raiders Bus Driver 1938
No Score Yet Ten Laps to Go Barney 1938
No Score Yet Heart of the Rockies Enoch 1937
No Score Yet Come On, Cowboys! Henchman Jake 1937
No Score Yet Gunsmoke Ranch Spider 1937
No Score Yet Hit the Saddle Buck 1937
No Score Yet Riders of the Whistling Skull Otah 1937
No Score Yet Riders of the Rockies Sgt. Beef 1937
No Score Yet Trouble in Texas Henchman Squint Palmer 1937
No Score Yet Roarin' Lead Canary 1936
No Score Yet Ghost Town Gold Buck 1936
No Score Yet Stagecoach Run Actor 1936
No Score Yet Winds of the Wasteland Henchman Smokey (uncredited) 1936
No Score Yet The Lonely Trail Horell 1936
No Score Yet King of the Pecos Smith 1936
No Score Yet The Oregon Trail Tom Richards 1936
No Score Yet Black Coin Ed McMahan 1936
No Score Yet Clutching Hand Number Eight 1936
No Score Yet Lawless Range Burns 1935
No Score Yet Dante's Inferno Stoker on the Paradise 1935
No Score Yet Westward Ho Red 1935
No Score Yet Paradise Canyon Curly Joe Gale 1935
No Score Yet The Dawn Rider Saloon Owner 1935
No Score Yet Texas Terror Actor 1935
No Score Yet Rough Riding Ranger Henchman Draw 1935
No Score Yet Branded a Coward 'The Cat' 1935
No Score Yet Guns Along the Trail Actor 1935
No Score Yet Pals of the Range Brown 1935
No Score Yet 'Neath Arizona Skies Sam Black 1934
No Score Yet The Lawless Frontier Joe 1934
No Score Yet The Man from Hell Yak 1934
No Score Yet The Star Packer (He Wore a Star) Yak 1934
No Score Yet Randy Rides Alone Henchman Spike 1934
No Score Yet The Man from Utah Cheyenne Kent 1934
No Score Yet Blue Steel Danti, The Polka Dot Bandit 1934
No Score Yet Lucky Texan Cole 1934
No Score Yet West of the Divide Hank 1934
No Score Yet Gold Strike Fever Actor 1934
No Score Yet Sagebrush Trail Ed Walsh 1933
No Score Yet Riders of Destiny henchman 1933
No Score Yet The Three Musketeers El Shaitan (when masked) 1933
No Score Yet The Telegraph Trail High Wolf 1933
No Score Yet Fighting Texans Hank 1933
No Score Yet The Devil Horse Actor 1932
No Score Yet The Last Frontier Wild Bill Hickok 1932
No Score Yet The Shadow of the Eagle Boyle 1932
No Score Yet Law and Lawless Tex Barnes 1932
No Score Yet Wyoming Whirlwind Jackson 1932
No Score Yet Guns for Hire Actor 1932
No Score Yet The Texan Actor 1932
No Score Yet Battling with Buffalo Bill Jack Brady 1931
No Score Yet The Lightning Warrior Actor 1931
No Score Yet Vanishing Legion Director Yak 1931
No Score Yet Two-Fisted Justice Perkins 1931
No Score Yet The Devil Horse Dave Garson 1926
No Score Yet The Fighting Stallion Yak 1926
No Score Yet Iron Rider Actor 1925
No Score Yet Wild Horse Canyon Actor 1925
No Score Yet Branded a Bandit Jess Dean 1924

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