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January 31, 1914|
Blountstown, Calhoun County, Florida, U.S.
|Died||March 4, 1997
Huntington Beach, Orange County, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)|
Carey Loftin (January 31, 1914 – March 4, 1997) (also credited as Cary Loftin, Carry Loftin, Carey Lofton, and William Carey Loftin) was an American stuntman, stunt coordinator and actor. He is often considered to be Hollywood's greatest stunt driver, and his talents were used in dozens of films.
Stunt driving career
Loftin was born in Blountstown, Florida, and began his career doing motorcycle stunts in stunt shows, and broke into film work in the late 1930s. Though he did stunt work in many types of films, it is his driving abilities for which he is most remembered. While working on Bullitt, one of his fellow stuntmen called him "the greatest car man in the business". On this film, Loftin was a double for Robert Vaughn and drove a Dodge Charger.
Aside from being a busy stuntman, Loftin also acted in bit parts of the many films and television shows he performed stunts on. One of his most famous roles was as the psychotic truck driver in Steven Spielberg's Duel, even though his face was never seen. He also acted as a truck driver in Stroker Ace (1983) in which his face was never seen (as in Duel), but not as a villain in that film. He did, however, act as kind of villainous faceless truck driver in Maximum Overdrive (1986) in which the machinery was coming to life as villains. He did all the stunt work and driving scenes including where he drove a red trash truck that said "Zeke's Trash Removal". He was the only one to drive that truck during filming. Also on the set of Maximum Overdrive he was one of two stunt drivers along with Tom Glass to be an assigned driver to the lead character Green Goblin Truck; Loftin actually drove the lead character Green Goblin Truck during filming more than Tom Glass did. Films to which he contributed as a stuntman and/or stunt coordinator include Vanishing Point, Magnum Force, Bullitt, The Getaway, The Love Bug, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Spartacus, Some Like It Hot, The Great Race, The French Connection, Diamonds Are Forever, Fletch, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, High Ballin', Smokey and the Bandit I and II, The China Syndrome, The Dead Zone, The Rookie, Steel Cowboy, White Line Fever, Armed and Dangerous, Over The Top, Messenger of Death, The Front Page, and many more. He also did stunts for such television shows as The Fugitive, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, Movin' On, Star Trek (as the truck driver in the episode "The City On the Edge of Forever"), The Rockford Files, B.J. and the Bear, Knight Rider, The Fall Guy, The A-Team, and The Dukes of Hazzard. Over the course of his long career, Carey Loftin worked with a number of famous directors, such as Stanley Kramer, Billy Wilder, Stanley Kubrick, Clint Eastwood, and stuntman-turned-director Hal Needham.
He also had a supporting role as Skinner in the Keenan Wynn and Bob Mathias series The Troubleshooters, which aired on NBC in the 1959–1960 season. His co-stars included Chet Allen and Forrest Compton.
A notable demonstration of stunt driving that Loftin performed was the car chase/race in Against All Odds (1984). He was the driver of the black Ferrari. According to the movie's director, Taylor Hackford, Loftin was 68 when he did this stunt. At first Hackford was reluctant to hire the aging stuntman, but stunt coordinator Gary Davis convinced Hackford that, even at 68, Loftin was by far the best car man in the business at that time.
Loftin eventually semi-retired in 1991 at age 77 after doing Pink Lightning (1991), although he still took minor stunt roles as a truck driver since he loved driving trucks, enjoyed talking to truck drivers, and had a passion for trucks. Those roles include Revenge on the Highway (1992), Red-Blooded American Girl II (1996), Fire Down Below (1997), Trucks (1997), Vanishing Point (1997), and Black Dog (filmed in 1996 but released in 1998). Loftin did stunts for the truck used by the main character portrayed by Patrick Swayze. He also did stunt driving for the main characters' trucks in B.J. and the Bear (1978-1981) and Movin' On (1974-1976). In Movin' On, Loftin was mostly the stunt double for Claude Akins and Frank Converse for the outside driving scenes. In the episode "Games", Loftin noted that stuntman George Sack had his first minor stunt gig driving the truck that hit a police car. Other than that, most of the driving scenes, including other truck stunt scenes, were done by Loftin. Loftin also did the major driving scenes in B.J. and the Bear (1978-1981) as Greg Evigan's stunt double. (The billboard stunt was done by newcomer stuntman Errol Sack, George's son.) Loftin noted that he did some regular driving scenes, too, for Greg Evigan, even though Evigan did some of his own driving.
- Padgett-Russin, Nina (23 September 2001). "McQueen liked doing own stunts, but he demurred with the GT 390". Chicago Sun-Times – via Highbeam Research.