David R. Ellis
David R. Ellis
Ellis at the premiere of Snakes on a Plane in 2006
David Richard Ellis
September 8, 1952
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Died||January 7, 2013 (aged 60)|
Johannesburg, South Africa
|Occupation||Film director, second unit director, stuntman|
David Richard Ellis (September 8, 1952 – January 7, 2013) was an American film director and stunt performer born in Santa Monica, California in 1952. His credits included dozens of films and television series including National Lampoon's Vacation, Baywatch, Lethal Weapon, and Patriot Games.
He also served as second unit director on blockbuster action films like Waterworld, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Matrix Reloaded, and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. His feature directorial credits included the action thriller Snakes on a Plane and two entries in the Final Destination series.
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.
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. 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. Ellis was a member and served as vice president for an elite stunt performance organization known as Stunts Unlimited located in Sherman Oaks, California.
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.
On January 7, 2013, Ellis's body was found in the bathroom of his hotel room in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was preparing to direct Kite at the time. No cause of death has been released; however, police say no foul play was suspected.
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|1996||Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco||$32,772,492 (USA)|
|2003||Final Destination 2||$26,000,000||$90,426,405|
|2006||Snakes on a Plane||$33,000,000||$62,022,014|
|2009||The Final Destination||$40,000,000||$186,167,139|
Second Unit Director
|1975||The Strongest Man in the World||David (Student)|
|1977||Heroes||Bar Patron #1|
|1978||Wonder Woman||Ludwig||TV Series|
|Flying High||Quarterback||TV Series|
|1982||Rocky III||Opponent #7|
|1988||Guns of Paradise||Lester Bradley||TV Series|
|1989||The Mighty Quinn||Jersey|
|Blind Fury||Ski Lodge Killer #3|
|1990||The Bounty Hunter||Townsperson||(final film role)|
|1976||Baby Blue Marine||uncredited|
|Bound for Glory||as David Ellis|
|1977||Smokey and the Bandit||uncredited|
|1978||Game of Death||motorcycle stunts - as David Ellis|
|Hot Lead and Cold Feet||as David Ellis|
|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|
|Smokey and the Bandit II||as David Ellis|
|1981||Back Roads||Stunt Coordinator|
|King of the Mountain|
|Take This Job and Shove It||as David Ellis|
|Nice Dreams||Stunt Double for Chong - as David Ellis|
|S.O.B.||as David Ellis|
|Return of the Rebels||Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis|
|Taps||as David Ellis|
|Fast Times at Ridgemont High|
|Lookin' to Get Out|
|Airplane II: The Sequel||Stunt Coordinator|
|1983||Second Thoughts||Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis|
|National Lampoon's Vacation||as David Ellis|
|Gorky Park||Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis|
|1984||V: The Final Battle|
|1985||To Live and Die in L.A.|
|1986||Out of Bounds|
|A Fine Mess||as David Ellis|
|1987||Critical Condition||Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis|
|Lethal Weapon||as David Ellis|
|Burglar||Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis|
|Real Men||as David Ellis|
|Remo Williams: The Prophecy||Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis|
|1989||Gleaming the Cube||as David Ellis|
|She's Out of Control|
|Road House||as David Ellis|
|Star Trek V: The Final Frontier||as David Richard Ellis|
|Tennessee Waltz||Fight Coordinator - as David Richard Ellis|
|Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge||as David Ellis|
||Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis|
|The Last of the Finest|
|Days of Thunder||as David Ellis|
|The Freshman||Stunt Coordinator|
|Misery||Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis|
|1991||Life Stinks||Stunt Coordinator - as David Richard Ellis|
|Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken||Stunt Coordinator|
|The Addams Family||Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis|
|Patriot Games||Stunt Coordinator|
|Forever Young||Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis|
|1993||Body of Evidence|
|Made in America||Stunt Coordinator|
|The Man Without a Face||Stunt Coordinator - as David Ellis|
|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|
- Gilbey, Ryan (9 January 2013). "David R Ellis obituary". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
- Dargis, Manohla (2006-08-19). "Snakes on a Plane". The New York Times.
- Kit, Borys (January 7, 2013). "David R. Ellis, Director of 'Snakes on a Plane,' Dies at 60". The Hollywood Reporter.
- The Deadline Team (January 7, 2013). "R.I.P David R. Ellis". Deadline Hollywood.
- "Best Stunt Coordinator and/or 2nd Unit Director". 2004 World Stunt Awards. Taurus World Stunt Awards.
- Karlin, Susan (September 16, 1991). "Southern California Job Market : For Some, Danger Is All in a Day's Work". California: Los Angeles Times.
- "A dear friend, and former member, David Ellis has passed". California: Stunts Unlimited. January 8, 2013.
- Smodcast.com Archived 2013-01-31 at the Wayback Machine
- Silverman, Stephen M. (January 9, 2013). "Snakes on a Plane Director David R. Ellis Found Dead". People Magazine. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
- Lang, Derrik J. (January 7, 2013). "'Snakes on a Plane' director David R. Ellis dies". Associated Press - The Big Story. Archived from the original on 2013-01-11.
- Gregory, Mollie. Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 9780813166230. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
David Ellis was second-unit director
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