I’m sure a lot of us dreamed of being a stuntman at some point during our childhoods. The thing is, a man named Dick Warlock actually went out and made that happen for himself. He worked as Kurt Russell’s (yeah that Kurt Russell) stunt double for decades on films like “Big Trouble in Little China” and “Escape from New York, The Thing.” And like any good dad, Dick Warlock walked so his son, Billy Warlock could run.
When he was old enough, Billy took after the family tree and became a stuntman on his own. Of course, his father’s connections helped. Billy made his screen debut as a stuntman with this one gig and this wasn’t just any gig. It would actually go on to change his entire life’s trajectory. This is the story of how all the perfect dominoes came together to lead Billy Warlock to the role of Leopold “Flip” Phillips in the classic TV series, “Happy Days.”
Remember the ‘Happy Days’ Spinoff ‘Mork & Mindy?’
As “Mork & Mindy” entered its third season, they were set to film an episode titled “Dueling Skates.” In the episode, Mork would challenge a character named “Wheels Simpson” to a roller-skating race. Now, the race needed to happen outdoors on the road instead of a rink, meaning there were some elements of danger to it. That also meant that the show needed a stuntman for Robin Williams.
Billy Warlock came in as a stuntman for Williams and he caught Gary Marshall’s eye. Gary Marshall, you know. The guy behind both “Mork & Mindy” and “Happy Days”? You probably already know where this is going.
Well, at the time, “Happy Days” faced some growing pains and met a lot of cast changes. The plot had also evolved. Don Most and Ron Howard left large gaps going into season nine that needed to be filled. Moreover, Fonzie now taught high school and the story pivoted to characters like Marion Cunningham’s nephew. What were the writers to do?
What’s Another Nephew?
The writers drew up a new nephew character, “Flip,” and Warlock auditioned for it just like anyone else. He won them over and made his debut on “Happy Days” on an episode titled “Hello, Flip.” He would forever be known as the cut-off wearing younger brother of Roger.
This role served as a catalyst for the rest of his acting career. He eventually completely phased stuntwork out of his life and focused on acting full-time. Several notable series followed. He joined “Baywatch” as a regular by the end of the eighties before changing lanes to soap operas. Within this avenue, his works included “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives.” He later made appearances on “One Life to Live” and “As the World Turns.”