What are you afraid of? Snakes? Heights? Pain? Falling off a cliff? Flying in a plane? Let me introduce you to a man who dedicated 50 years of his life doing what most people have night mares about. Loren Janes, Stuntman Extraordinaire has lived life on the edge in more than 500 films and over 2200 TV episodes. He was the stunt double for Steve McQueen for 23 years and worked alongside the likes of Paul Newman, Dustin Hoffman, Steven Spielberg, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack Nicholson, Elvis Presley and Stanley Kubrick. He did 17 films with John Wayne. He even doubled Debbie Reynolds in How the West was Won and Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot back in the days when there were no stunt women!
If you speak with those who are in the industry today, you will discover the stunt people are usually very specialized: some are experts at catching on fire, others are cliff divers, car crash specialists, high falls, water stunts etc... Loren Janes is unique in that he has done it all! He comes from the stock of those who worked when they had to do it all and he relished in every stunt performed.
His most dangerous stunt was done on the wings of two planes at 10,000 feet. He had to jump from one wing of an airplane onto the wing of a second plane with no wires, no net and no parachute. He was supposed to have a parachute on, but he felt the weight and bulkiness of the chute was going to throw off his agility and judgment, so he removed it without telling anyone! This type of stunt had to be done to the precise second as you can imagine. Loren had to instruct the pilot of the first plane as to the exact moment he was going to jump off his wing so the pilot could compensate for the pushing off of his feet. The pilot of the second plane had to know the exact second Loren would land on his wing so he too could prepare for the added weight and not collide into the first plane. Obviously this was a one-take shot and he of course he pulled it off like a pro!
Not long ago Loren Janes was awarded the Taurus Lifetime Achievement Award not only for his amazing history making shots in film but also for co-founding the Stuntmen's Association. Prior to Loren organizing the association, those in the stunt industry were without insurance or recourse should they have become injured and out of work.
Loren is being honored this month at the Lone Pine Film Festival as they dedicate the only Western Film Museum in the nation to him in honor of his body of work. Loren has always had a love for animals and will also be one of the celebrities highlighted at the Wolf Connection Fundraising Event on Oct 23. This is a night for Hollywood to come celebrate with the stars as they put their resources together and party till the cows come home or rather till the wolves get a home!