David R. Ellis

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David R. Ellis
David R. Ellis.jpg
Born David Richard Ellis
(1952-09-08)September 8, 1952
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Died January 7, 2013(2013-01-07) (aged 60)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Occupation Film director, second unit director, stuntman
Years active 1978–2013

David Richard Ellis (September 8, 1952 – January 7, 2013) was an American film director and stuntman born in Santa Monica, California in 1952.

Career[edit]

Following a successful career as a junior pro surfer, David Richard Ellis began his career in the film industry as a supporting actor in juvenile roles making his big screen debut in 1975 in the Kurt Russell film The Strongest Man in the World. In 1978, he received a promotion to stunt coordinator on The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. After several successful years in this position, he worked from 1986 onwards as a second unit director before making his debut as a director in the Disney live-action film Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco. He is best known for directing two of the Final Destination films and the 2006 film Snakes on a Plane, which became an Internet phenomenon.[1][2]

As a stunt man he was best known for his work in the movie Scarface. Other notable works as a stunt man include Fatal Attraction, Lethal Weapon, the television series Baywatch, and Patriot Games. As a second unit director he worked on a number of well-known movies that most recently include Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, The Matrix Reloaded, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and Cop Out. At the time of his death, two works involving Ellis were still in post-production: 47 Ronin and R.I.P.D.; another, Winter's Tale, was still being filmed. R.I.P.D. was released in July 2013; 47 Ronin was released in December 2013, while Winter's Tale was released in February 2014.

He was perhaps best known as a director with seven titles under his belt. Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco, Final Destination 2, Cellular, Snakes on a Plane, Asylum, The Final Destination, and Shark Night. At the time of his death, he was in pre-production for a live-action version of the violent anime Kite.[3][4] Ralph Ziman became the film's director.

Ellis was nominated for the Taurus Award along with Glenn Boswell and R. A. Rondell in 2003 for his stunt coordination work on The Matrix Reloaded.[5] Ellis was a member and served as vice president for an elite stunt performance organization known as Stunts Unlimited located in Sherman Oaks, California.[6][7]

Personal life[edit]

David R. Ellis was the father of producer Tawny and photographer Cheyenne Ellis. He was the son of Richard and Andrea Ellis, the grandfather to Kodiak and Ridge Ellis, as well as the brother of Annie, Lori, and Chenoa Ellis. He is survived by his wife Cindy.

When Ellis was once about to be carjacked, trapped between two other cars, he used his stunt-driving prowess to whip his car out of the tiny gap and face the carjackers, revving his engine, scaring them enough to get back into their cars and drive away.[8]

Death[edit]

On January 7, 2013, Ellis's body was found in the bathroom of his hotel room[9] in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was preparing to direct Kite at the time.[3][4] No cause of death has been released, however, police say no foul play was suspected.[10]

Filmography[edit]

Director[edit]

Year Film Budget Worldwide gross
1996 Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco $32,772,492 (USA)
2003 Final Destination 2 $26,000,000 $90,426,405
2004 Cellular $25,000,000 $56,422,687
2006 Snakes on a Plane $33,000,000 $62,022,014
2008 Asylum $11,000,000 Direct-to-video
2009 The Final Destination $40,000,000 $186,167,139
2011 Shark Night $28,000,000 $40,136,479

Second Unit Director[edit]

Year Film Episode Assistant Director
1986 Condor as David Ellis
1987 Fatal Attraction uncredited
1989 Warlock
1989 Baywatch
  • Rookie School
  • The Reunion
as David Ellis
1990 Baywatch
  • We Need a Vacation
  • Muddy Waters
as David Ellis
1990 The Last of the Finest
1991 Life Stinks uncredited
1992 Kuffs as David Ellis
1992 Thunderheart as David Richard Ellis
1992 Patriot Games
1992 Whispers in the Dark
1992 Forever Young
1993 Body of Evidence
1993 Sliver
1993 Made in America
1993 Beethoven's 2nd
1994 Iron Will
1994 My Father the Hero as David Ellis
1994 Blank Check
1994 Clear and Present Danger
1994 The Jungle Book
1995 Waterworld
1997 The Devil's Own Dublin - as David Ellis
1998 Desperate Measures
1998 Sphere as David Ellis
1998 The Negotiator Los Angeles - as David Ellis
1998 Holy Man
1998 Soldier as David Ellis
1999 Deep Blue Sea as David Ellis
1999 Ride with the Devil as David Ellis
1999 Blue Streak
2000 The Kid
2000 The Perfect Storm
2001 Exit Wounds as David Ellis
2001 Just Visiting as David Ellis
2001 Rock Star as David Ellis
2001 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone as David Ellis
2003 The Matrix Reloaded USA - as David Ellis
2003 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
2010 Cop Out
2013 R.I.P.D.
2013 47 Ronin
2014 Winter's Tale as David Ellis

Actor[edit]

Year Film Episode Role
1975 The Strongest Man in the World David (Student)
1977 Heroes Bar Patron #1
1978 Wonder Woman My Teenage Idol Is Missing Ludwig
1978 Flying High Fear of Cheesecake Quarterback
1979 Boardwalk Bath attendant
1982 Rocky III Opponent
1987 Anna Daniel's Father
1988 Guns of Paradise Founders' Day Lester Bradley
1989 The Mighty Quinn Jersey
1989 Blind Fury Ski Lodge Killer #3
1990 The Bounty Hunter Townsperson

Stunts[edit]

Year Film Episode Role
1976 Baby Blue Marine uncredited
1976 Bound for Glory as David Ellis
1977 Smokey and the Bandit uncredited
1978 Game of Death motorcycle stunts - as David Ellis
1978 Deathsport motorcycle stunts - as David Ellis
1978 Hot Lead and Cold Feet as David Ellis
1978 Hopper
1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1979 Fast Charlie... the Moonbeam Rider motorcycle stunts - as David Ellis
1980 Carny Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1980 Smokey and the Bandit II as David Ellis
1981 Back Roads Stunt Coordinator
1981 King of the Mountain Stunt Coordinator
1981 Take This Job and Shove It as David Ellis
1981 Nice Dreams Stunt Double for Chong - as David Ellis
1981 S.O.B. as David Ellis
1981 Return of the Rebels Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1981 Taps as David Ellis
1981 Sharky's Machine as David Ellis
1982 Megaforce as David Ellis
1982 The Beastmaster as David Ellis
1982 Fast Times at Ridgemont High as David Ellis
1982 Lookin' to Get Out as David Ellis
1982 Airplane II: The Sequel Stunt Coordinator
1983 Second Thoughts Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1983 V Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1983 Private School
1983 National Lampoon's Vacation as David Ellis
1983 Scarface as David Ellis
1983 Gorky Park Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1984 V: The Final Battle
  • Part One
  • Part Two
  • Part Three
Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1984 V Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1984 Fooling Around
1985 To Live and Die in L.A.
1986 Out of Bounds
1986 A Fine Mess as David Ellis
1986 The Wraith as David Ellis
1987 Critical Condition Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1987 Lethal Weapon as David Ellis
1987 Burglar Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1987 Fatal Attraction Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1987 Real Men as David Ellis
1988 The Presidio
1988 Remo Williams: The Prophecy Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1989 Gleaming the Cube as David Ellis
1989 Dead Bang as David Ellis
1989 She's Out of Control as David Ellis
1989 Warlock Stunt Coordinator
1989 Road House as David Ellis
1989 Star Trek V: The Final Frontier as David Richard Ellis
1989 Tennessee Waltz Fight Coordinator - as David Richard Ellis
1989 Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge as David Ellis
1989 Baywatch
  • In Deep
  • Heat Wave
  • Second Wave
  • Message in a Bottle
  • The Sky Is Falling
  • The Drowning Pool
  • Rookie School
  • Cruise Ship
  • The Cretin of the Shallows
  • Shelter Me
  • The Reunion
Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1990 Everybody Wins Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1990 Baywatch
  • Armored Car
  • Home Cort
  • We Need a Vacation
  • Muddy Waters
Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1990 The Last of the Finest Stunt Coordinator - as Davis Ellis
1990 Catchfire
1990 Impulse Stunt Coordinator
1990 Days of Thunder as David Ellis
1990 Ghost Dad as David Ellis
1990 The Freshman Stunt Coordinator
1990 Misery Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1991 Life Stinks Stunt Coordinator - as David Richard Ellis
1991 Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken Stunt Coordinator
1991 The Addams Family Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1992 Kuffs Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1992 Patriot Games Stunt Coordinator
1992 Forever Young Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1993 Body of Evidence Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1993 Sliver Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1993 Made in America Stunt Coordinator
1993 The Man Without a Face Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis
1993 Warlock: The Armageddon as David Ellis
1994 The Jungle Book Stunt Coordinator: USA - as David Ellis
1996 Harriet the Spy as Dave Ellis
2009 Hotel for Dogs as David Richard Ellis

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gilbey, Ryan (9 January 2013). "David R Ellis obituary". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Dargis, Manohla (2006-08-19). "Snakes on a Plane". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ a b Kit, Borys (January 7, 2013). "David R. Ellis, Director of 'Snakes on a Plane,' Dies at 60". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  4. ^ a b The Deadline Team (January 7, 2013). "R.I.P David R. Ellis". Deadline Hollywood. 
  5. ^ "Best Stunt Coordinator and/or 2nd Unit Director". 2004 World Stunt Awards. Taurus World Stunt Awards. 
  6. ^ Karlin, Susan (September 16, 1991). "Southern California Job Market : For Some, Danger Is All in a Day's Work". California: Los Angeles Times. 
  7. ^ "A dear friend, and former member, David Ellis has passed". California: Stunts Unlimited. January 8, 2013. 
  8. ^ Smodcast.com
  9. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (January 9, 2013). "Snakes on a Plane Director David R. Ellis Found Dead". People Magazine. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  10. ^ Lang, Derrik J. (January 7, 2013). "'Snakes on a Plane' director David R. Ellis dies". Associated Press - The Big Story. 

External links[edit]