James Bond and The Italian Job stuntman Dick Sheppard has died aged 90.
The legendary stuntman, who held 18 world records, died on March 1, with his family confirming the news.
A statement on Facebook read: ‘It is with much sadness that the family announce the loss of
Retired Hollywood movie stuntman Dick Sheppard, who died on 1 March 2021 aged 90.
‘Fondly known by many for his obsession with cars and motorbikes, he was truly a larger than life character who caught the public’s attention with his daredevil stunts and world records .
‘His final wishes, however, were that we his family might grieve in private so we can reflect on his other roles as husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.’
Sheppard, who was born and raised in Gloucester, was referred to by the Guinness World Records as the world’s most prolific auto stuntman.
His first motorcycle scramble came when he was nine years old, which sparked his ambition to be a stuntman.
Sheppard featured in the Guinness Book of Records every year between 1969 and 1996, even after his retirement in 1993.
He chose to hang up his stuntman hat after wrecking his 2,000th car at a show in South Africa.
Sheppard’s first world record was in 1969 when he rode an ex-army motorbike through a 100 foot tunnel of fire – a record he says will never be broken because it was withdrawn from the Book of Records after four people died attempting it.
Among his work was stunts on the Bond films Thunderball and Diamonds Are Forever.
However, his favourite project was the 1969 caper The Italian Job, as he previously said: ‘My favourite film of all time has got to be The Italian Job. It contains all the ingredients for a night of escapism at the cinema.
‘It was a very low budget movie, but it was great fun to make, and it must be heading for the record of the most repeated film on TV.’
Since retirement, Sheppard became infamous in the local area each Christmas for turning his garden into a winter wonderland with moving Santas and a ferris wheel.
He also continued to give talks and wrote an autobiography, and his most recent public appearance was when he received his Covid-19 vaccine in December at Glouceestershire Royal Hospital.
When asked aged 84 what else he wanted to do, Sheppard said: ‘There are 196 countries in the world. I have worked in 35 of them and visited another 16, but that still means there are 145 that I have never been to. With the increase in airfares and the decreasing value of my savings I think that my only hope is to buy a boat!’
Sheppard is survived by his nine children and his third wife Phoebe.
Credit: Original article published here.