Who We Are
We are an organized group of Premier Stunt Coordinators, Stuntmen and Second Unit Directors.
The Stuntmen's Association of Motion pictures is comprised of highly-trained, skilled professional filmmakers who with their knowledge and creativity can overcome all challenges and enhance any action sequence they encounter.
Founded in 1961 by forward-thinking Stunt Coordinators and Stuntmen that single-handedly changed the course of the industry by professionalizing the realm of stunts. Our goal is, and always has been, to set the highest standards to qualify for membership. We seek only the most capable professional stunt performers whose expertise, experience and knowledge, combined their personal integrity is second to none. Further one must have a commitment to honor our group's traditions and standards of excellence established by our founders. Membership is by "invitation only" and must be a member of the Screen Actors Guild.
Executive Board Members
As with any incorporated organization we are governed by a Board of Directors, elected by the general membership. Below is our current Board of Directors
J. Mark Donaldson
2nd Vice President
Hugh Aodh O'Brien
Steeped in Heritage and History
February 27, 1961: Two forward-thinking, visionary Hollywood stuntmen are inspired with an idea to professionalize the motion picture stunt industry.
To wit, gather the top stuntmen together into a single unit. Consequently for the first time in motion picture history stunt performers could speak with a single voice, address their concerns, share ideas and push the envelope of what could be done and how those ideas might be accomplished. From those thoughts The Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures and Television was formed and soon boasted a charter membership of the top fifty premier stuntmen and stunt coordinators.
Known in the industry as the "unsung heroes" stuntmen have been around since the dawn of filmmaking. Although today they are highly skilled world-class athletes, with technically sophisticated abilities, enabling them to work in the ever advancing forms of film production. In the early days, before talkies, young comedians such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton and the stunt filled Keystone Cop movies used these gutsy guys extensively. Filled with pratfalls, high dives and comedy car wrecks soon the audiences couldn't get enough of this mayhem. The need for stuntmen had been solidified. Their ranks filled with top circus performers, rodeo cowboys, gymnasts and acrobats As the movie going public tastes changed, they easily adapted. Then came the era of the Western Movie, cowboy legends such as Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson, Ken Maynard, Gary Cooper not to mention an up and coming young cowpoke named John Wayne soon dominated the nations screens. Instead of car gags, pratfalls and pie fights the stuntmen were now slugging it out thousands of salon brawls, falling trained horses, driving stagecoaches and battling it out as both cowboys and as Indians. Stuntmen were becoming more and more an integral part of a films drawing power, helping to fill theaters across the country with thrill seeking patrons (a trend that continues today) anxious to see the new Saturday matinees and pulse pounding serials.
Then in 1958 "Thunder Road", a hard hitting, moonshine running, Robert Mitchum film was released and the era of the "car chase movie" sprang to life. A genre that remains healthy today with each chase sequence vying to outdo the ones done before. Now along side the names of well known stuntmen like Yakima Canutt (The only Stuntman to ever receive an academy award) Tom Steele, Harvey Parry, Dave Sharpe and others came Carey Loftin, Dale Van Sickel, Bill Hickman, and motorcycle great, Bud Ekins to name just a few. Higher, Farther, Faster, became the buzzwords of the day, stuntmen who are not daredevils, dove into those challenges to search out and develop innovative ways to achieve and perform seemingly impossible feats in a safe and repeatable manner. The film archives from then to now stand as a testament to their success.
Stuntmen are a rare breed, one of a kind, they plan, prepare and incorporate both the safety and risk factors in their performances. Performing stunts oft times can hurt yes, but they strive to avoid injuries, sadly a few of our men have given their lives in the performance of a stunt when the unforeseen takes a hand. It takes tremendous dedication, training and years of experience to become an accepted professional as our well being and at times our very lives relay on each other.
Today the Association still flourishes with a roster of carefully selected professional Stuntmen, all committed to achieving and enhancing the filmmaker's creative vision with the highest degree of safety. Members of the Stuntmen's Association are required to be members of the Screen Actors Guild and membership is by invitation only.