H. B. Halicki

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H.B. Halicki
H.B. Halicki.jpg
Halicki in Gone in 60 Seconds, 1974
Henry Blight Halicki

(1940-10-18)October 18, 1940
DiedAugust 20, 1989(1989-08-20) (aged 48)
Other namesHank Halicki
The Car Crash King
The Junkman
Toby Halicki
Tony Halicki
Years active1973–1989

Henry Blight Halicki (October 18, 1940 – August 20, 1989), most commonly known as H. B. "Toby" Halicki, was an American director, writer, stunt driver, actor, and filmmaker. Halicki directed the 1974 film Gone in 60 Seconds as well as producing and starring in several other action films. He was killed in an accident while filming Gone in 60 Seconds 2 in 1989. Wishing to preserve his legacy, his widow, Denice Shakarian Halicki, produced a remake in 2000 along with Jerry Bruckheimer.


Halicki was born in a Polish-American family in Dunkirk, New York in 1940 and was one of thirteen children. All thirteen children were given nicknames; his was "Toby". Toby started to develop his fascination with cars while working in the family towing business, which was established back in 1919. His father was also a second-hand car dealer.[1] Halicki started driving at a young age and developed a wide knowledge of automobiles by the age of ten. When he was a teenager, after the loss of two of his brothers, Halicki decided to move to California and live with one of his uncles.


Halicki moved from New York to California and worked on vehicles, eventually owning his own impound and towing business. H.B. Halicki Mercantile Co. & Junk Yard was known for its extensive antique automobile and toy collections.[2]

Gone in 60 Seconds[edit]

Halicki wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the film Gone in 60 Seconds in 1974.[3]

1971 (as 1973) Ford Mustang Sportsroof from the 1974 film Gone in 60 Seconds

There was no official script for the movie, apart from several pages outlining main dialog sequences. Halicki supplied most of the cars and used repeated footage of the same vehicles and shots of public incidents to increase the footage. The scene in which a train derailment is observed was not part of the original shooting script; it is in fact a real train that derailed. When the director heard about the wreck, he wanted to incorporate it into the film.[citation needed]

Halicki compacted 10 vertebrae performing the film's 128-foot-long (39 m) jump finale and walked with a limp afterwards.[4]

Marriage, the 1989 reboot of Gone In 60 Seconds 2 and death[edit]

Halicki married Denice Shakarian in 1989 shortly before he began filming his 1989 reboot, Gone in 60 Seconds 2, in which both of them would star. Halicki bought over 400 automobiles to destroy in the film, which was to feature improved car chases and storyline.

On August 20, 1989, while filming in Dunkirk and Buffalo, New York, Toby was preparing for the most dramatic stunt sequence in the film, during which a 160 ft tall (49m) water tower was supposed to topple to the ground. When a cable attached to the tower snapped unexpectedly, it sheared off a telephone pole, which fell on Halicki, killing him instantly. The accident occurred in an area behind the former J. H. Williams Tool factory at 400 Vulcan Street in Buffalo.

Legacy and 2000 Gone in 60 Seconds remake[edit]

In 1995, Denice Shakarian Halicki began work with Jerry Bruckheimer and Touchstone Pictures to produce a 2000 remake of the original 1974 film.[5] The remake included the Fastback Mustang "Eleanor".[citation needed]

1967 custom Fastback Mustang Eleanor from the 2000 Gone in 60 Seconds

In its opening weekend, the remake grossed $25,336,048 from 3,006 US theaters, leading all films that weekend. By the end of the film's theatrical run, it had grossed $101,648,571 domestically and $135,553,728 internationally, comprising a total gross revenue for the film of $237,202,299 worldwide.[6] The popularity of the 2000 remake resulted in illegal copies of the custom Eleanor car being produced. Denice Halicki successfully sued to stop trademark and copyright infringement.[7][8][9]


Year Film Role Notes
1973 Love Me Deadly Race Driver Actor, Associate Producer
1974 Gone in 60 Seconds Maindrian "Vicinski" Pace Actor, Producer, Writer, Director, Stunt Driver
1982 The Junkman Harlan B. Hollis/Maindrian "Vicinski" Pace Actor, Producer, Writer, Director, Stunt Driver
1982 The Making of the Junkman Himself/Host Documentary
1983 Deadline Auto Theft Maindrian "Vicinski" Pace Actor, Producer, Writer, Director, Stunt Driver
1988 Deadly Addiction Rolls-Royce Driver Actor
1989 Gone in 60 Seconds 2 International Thief Unfinished movie, Accidentally killed during filming
2003 The Life and Times of H.B. 'Toby' Halicki Himself Archive Footage, Documentary


  1. ^ The Daily Telegraph Third Book of Obituaries: Entertainers, ed. Hugh Massingberd, Pan Books, 1998 (Macmillan, 1997), p. 90
  2. ^ "Mustang Monthly". Mustang Monthly. August 18, 2013.
  3. ^ "Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Smith, Jonny (April 9, 2009). "1967 Ford Mustang 'Eleanor' recreation". London: The Times. Retrieved April 9, 2009.
  5. ^ "Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) – Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 25, 2009.
  7. ^ "Ninth Circuit Court Hands Winning Victory to Denice Halicki in Dispute with Carroll..." Reuters. November 13, 2008. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  8. ^ "Recent Win: Ninth Circuit reverses judgment against GMSR's clients in copyright/trademark case concerning "Eleanor" from "Gone In 60 Seconds"". GMSR. Archived from the original on July 29, 2014. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  9. ^ 67mustangblog.com (November 17, 2008). "Denice Halicki Wins Dispute With Carroll Shelby Over 'Eleanor' Name". 67mustangblog.com. Retrieved August 4, 2014.

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