Thursday, July 9, 2009

RIP Whitey Hughes

He was born Robert James “Whitey” Hughes, on November 9, 1920, in Arkoma, Oklahoma, on the Arkansas/Oklahoma border, near Ft. Smith. Whitey was raised on a farm where he learned to plow and drive teams as well as ride and break horses with his Dad. The family moved to California in 1936 when Whitey was just 16 years old. He graduated from Fremont High School in Los Angeles. Already an accomplished livestock teamster because of his farm upbringing, Whitey found his way into the film business in 1947 as a full-fledged Screen Actors Guild member.

From 1948 through 1953 Whitey worked for Robert Gilbert Productions as a stuntman and double for such stars its Reno Browne and Lee "Lasses" White in "Red Rock Outlaw" ('50). At the same time Whitey was doing loads of stunts on Johnny Carpenter's low budget westerns like "Badman's Gold" (‘51) and "Son of a Renegade" ('53). Whitey recalls his first location job was in Lone Pine, doubling leading lady, Lynne Roberts in Tim Holt's "Dynamite Pass" ('50).

Whitey was often called upon to double for women in these early days and would eventually do stunts for such luminaries as Rita Hayworth, Stephanie Powers, Barbara Hershey, Anne Baxter, Lana Turner, Kathleen Crowley and Virginia Mayo ("Along the Great Divide", again on location in Lone Pine). Whitey's credits include work on "The Wild One" with Marlon Brando, "Sitting Bull" with Dale Robertson, "Darby O'Gill and the Little People", "Charge at Feather River" with Guy Madison, "Geronimo" with Chuck Connors and Ross Martin, and Sam Peckinpah's "Wild Bunch".

Whitey was Johnny Crawford's double for four years on TV's "Rifleman" as well as Bobby Diamond's double during the run of the "Fury" TV series. Whitey also worked on "U.S. Marshal", "Californians", "MacKenzie's Raiders", "Black Saddle", "Wyatt Earp", "Lassie", "Rawhide", "Bonanza", "Monroes", "Hondo", "Gunsmoke" ... and hundreds more including work for both Roy [Rogers] and Gene [Autry] on their respective series. His multitude of work is only highlighted in this article. For terrific stunt viewing, I recommend watching Whitey in action in almost every episode of "The Wild Wild West", which he coordinated for four seasons ('65-'68). Whitey and his stunt crew do some amazing action sequences.

Whitey spent '70 - '71 preparing his own production, Smoke In the Wind", which, sadly, was not well distributed. It starred John Russell, Walter Brennan and John Ashley. When western work petered out in the '70s, Whitey worked on series and films such as "Omega Man", "Harper Valley P.T.A.", "Spiderman", "Wonder Woman", "B. J. and the Bear", "Buck Rogers", "Father Murphy", "Fall Guy", "Blue and the Gray", "Little House on the Prairie" and many others. At 77, Whitey has been an active stuntman for 50 years and still works when he feels like it. He performed a saddle fall for Buck Henry in "Keep the Change" a couple of years ago and was part of the number one film of 1997, "Men in Black".

Whitey Huges passed away at home in his sleep on July 7, 2009, he was 87. Whitey was regarded as one of the greatest stuntmen of all time and one of the nicest gentlemen you would ever hope to meet - Boyd Magers


Robert James ‘Whitey’ Hughes
Born: 11/9/1920, Arkoma, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
Died: 7/7/2009, Arizona, U.S.A.

Whitey Hughes westerns – producer, stunt coordinator, actor, stuntman
Valiant Hombre – 1948 (townsman)
Red Rock Outlaw – 1950 [stunts]
Fence Riders – 1950 (deputy) [stunts]
The Silver Bandit – 1950 [stunts]
Dynamite Pass – 1950 [stunts]
I Killed Geronimo – 1950 (trooper)
The Gene Autry Show (TV) – 1950 (townsman)
Border Outlaws – 1950 (Joe)
The Range Rider (TV) – 1951 (townsman)
Badman’s Gold – 1951 [stunts]
Along the Great Divide – 1951 [stunts]
Gold Raiders – 1951 [gold guard]
Cattle Queen – 1951 [henchman]
The Roy Rogers Show (TV) – 1951 [stunts]
Stage to Blue River – 1951 (henchman) [stunts]
Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok (TV) – 1952 (henchman)
Buffalo Bill in Tomahawk Territory – 1952 [stunts]
Son of the Renegade – 1953 (The Long-Haired Kid)
The Charge at Feather River – 1953 [stunts]
Sitting Bull – 1954 [stunt coordinator]
Outlaw Treasure – 1955 (henchman) [stunts]
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (TV) – 1955 [stunts]
I Killed Wild Bill Hickok – 1956 (henchman)
Giant – 1956 [stunts]
Westward Ho the Wagons! 1956 [stunts]
Sheriff of Cochise (TV) – 1957 (barfly)
The Californians (TV) – 1958 [stunts]
Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV) – 1958, 1959 (townsman)
The Rifleman (TV) – 1959 (townsman) [stunts]
Ole Rex – 1961 [actor]
Geronimo – 1962 (corporal) [stunts]
The Night Rider (TV) – 1962 (Pete)
Major Dundee – 1965 (Confederate trooper) [stunts]
The Glory Guys – 1965 [stunts]
Branded (TV) – 1966 (townsman)
Bonanza (TV) – 1966, 1967 (townsman)
Dundee and the Culhane (TV) – 1967 [stunts]
The Wild Wild West (TV) – 1967, 1968, 1969 [actor, stunts]
The Bandits – 1967 [stunt coordinator]
Guns for San Sebastian – 1968 [stunts]
Here Come the Brides (TV) – 1968 [stunts]
The Wild Bunch – 1969 [stunts]
Gunsmoke (TV) – 1972 (Billy Banner)
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid – 1973 [stunts]
The Gatling Gun – 1973 [stunts]
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia – 1974 (bar patron) [stunt coordinator]
Little House on the Prairie (TV) – 1974 [stunts]
Smoke in the Wind – 1975 [producer, actor]
Gone with the West – 1975 (Mimmo’s man)
Barbary Coast (TV) – 1975 [stunts]

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