'Hall of Fame' stuntman dies after heart attack

Andrew Vine

THE world’s most prolific film and television stuntman, Roy Alon, has died.

Mr Alon was awarded a place in the Guinness Book of Records after appearing in more than 1,000 cinema and TV productions, including almost all the James Bond movies since the mid-70s and the Superman films starring Christopher Reeve.

He also perforrmed stunts on some of television’s best-loved series, including Coronation Street, Heartbeat, A Touch of Frost and Last of the Summer Wine.

Recently, he had trained more than 1,000 actors and extras who appeared in the battle scenes of the Hollywood blockbuster, Troy, starring Brad Pitt.

Mr Alon, who lived in Alwoodley, Leeds, was 63. He died after suffering a heart attack at home on Wednesday. He leaves a widow, Ann, a son and a daughter.

He made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s most prolific stuntman two years ago, saying at the time: “I’ve always been the villain. I’m the guy who gets picked up and thrown out of the window. I’m not the tallest guy in the world, so I’m easy to sling about.” Mr Alon racked up so many film and television credits because he was constantly in demand.

Mr Alon was a regular in blockbusters from the mid-1970s, when he appeared in his first feature film, A Bridge Too

Far, and then his first James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me.

He worked on location all over the world with stars of the calibre of David Niven, Sean Connery and Roger Moore, and even doubled for timeless screen goddess Sophia Loren.

But he always maintained close links with Yorkshire Television, which gave him his start in stunt work in 1968, and at the time of his death was preparing to work on another episode of A Touch of Frost.

Mr Alon was highly respected in the film world, giving masterclasses at the British Film Institute and the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, in Bradford, and holding a place in the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame.

He was much admired within the film industry for his careful preparation of stunts, which were meticulously worked out on paper before being put into practice.

He was born in Otley and left school at 14, joining the merchant navy at 15. By the time he was 18, Mr Alon had made eight Atlantic crossings. He then went to work at Tetley’s in Leeds as an engineer and became interested in motorcycle racing.

Mr Alon told the Yorkshire Post: “If I stayed on, I won. Anyway, I came off one weekend and a man said ‘The way you fell as you flew through the air, you were looking around for where your bike was. You’d make a good stuntman’, and that set me thinking.”

He went to the then-fledgling YTV in 1968, where he managed to talk his way into doing stunts. His first series was Tom Grattan’s War, followed by Hadleigh. He became friends with comic Les Dawson over the course of more than 90 TV shows, and Dawson and his team wrote a regular stunt gag into every episode to feature him.

Whilst working with Dawson, Mr Alon got a call to do an episode of The Avengers at Pinewood. That led to his first feature film, and a career appearing in movies including The Long Good Friday, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Entrapment and 101 Dalmations.