Ted White, ‘Friday the 13th’ Actor & John Wayne Stuntman, Dead at 96

by Craig Garrett
(Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images)

Legendary actor and stuntman Ted White, who is a horror icon for playing Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, has died. White, who was still very active in the convention circuit, was 96 years old. Horror news site Bloody Disgusting confirmed White’s passing via Sean Clark, owner of Convention All Stars. Clark took the time to share the news on social media.

“As I’m here setting up at Monsterpalooza I just got hit with the news that my dear friend Ted White has passed away. I was told he passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home,” Clark wrote. “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing him and working with him for close to 20 years. He was my adopted grandpa and hands down the best storyteller you could have ever met. My heart goes out to his wife Jeri and his sons. It was an absolute honor my friend. Rest easy. Love you Ted.”

White played football for the University of Oklahoma and then became a stuntman/actor. He was approached to be a consultant on the movie Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) because of his experience in the Marine Corps. That’s when he met John Wayne and began doubling for him in 1952. A towering 6’4, he was the perfect stand-in for the Duke. Ted White also did stunt work for films including Giant, Rio Bravo, Planet of the Apes, King Kong (1976), Escape from New York, and Road House.

Ted White lands his most iconic role

White had small parts in a few westerns and on well-known TV shows such as Daniel Boone, The Andy Griffith Show, Magnum P.I., and The Rockford Files. He often portrayed authority figures or hardened criminals. White also had several film roles as an actor. Some of his acting appearances include roles in TRON, Romancing the Stone, and Starman.

In 1984, White played the masked hockey murderer Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. The director needed a large man for the part and White reluctantly accepted. Not wanting any screen credit, White asked to have his name left off of the film.

White was later credited for archive footage of him as Jason that was used in the seventh Friday film. He was offered the role of Jason for Friday the 13th: A New Beginning and Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, but turned them down. The roles went to stuntmen Tom Morga and C. J. Graham, respectively. Many horror fans consider White the definitive Jason Voorhees.

Eventually, Ted White came to appreciate the role of Voorhees. He became very active on the convention circuit and was a fan favorite. White was one of the best raconteurs in the business. Fans loved hearing his stories, which stretched from Hollywood’s golden age to the 21st century.