The frequent Clint Eastwood collaborator, director, and prolific stuntman’s family has announced that Buddy Van Horn died May 11 at 92-years-old after a remarkable life.
If you’ve seen Any Which Way You Can, Pink Cadillac, or The Dead Pool, then you know Buddy Van Horn’s directing talents. The Hollywood legend was Clint Eastwood’s stunt double for a full generation of films, but was more so a collaborator and dear friend.
Born Wayne Van Horn on the backlot of Universal Studios August 20, 1928, Buddy would start his film career as a horse rider and extra. His service in the U.S. Army took him to Germany for two years. When he returned, he got right back out into Hollywood’s most challenging jobs.
For over four decades, Van Horn brought Clint Eastwood films to life alongside the actor’s Malpaso Productions. During which, the 92-year-old accomplished endless feats. He was a charter member of the Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures. In addition, Van Horn will forever remain a member of the Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame.
Buddy’s first film as Eastwood’s stunt double was the Don Siegel-directed Coogan’s Bluff (1968). From there, Siegel would lead Eastwood & Van Horn in both The Beguiled and Dirty Harry in 1971. Afterwards, Eastwood would bring the stunt icon on for a directing effort of his own, High Plains Drifter in 1973.
In a 2011 interview, Buddy Van Horn described his friend Clint Eastwood as “a pretty physical guy” who “likes to do his own stunts. Some of the things he does were pretty easy to get banged up… I’ve tried to talk him out of it sometimes, but not very successfully most of the time. He went and did ’em anyway, several of ’em. He’s been banged up a few times.”
Clint Eastwood & Buddy Van Horn: Dynamic Duo
Through Eastwood, Buddy Van Horn’s film skillset would grow considerably. After serving as second unit director on Eastwood’s Mangum Force in 1973, he would go on to direct Any Which Way You Can, The Dead Pool, and Pink Cadillac throughout the 80s.
During Van Horn’s directing tenure, Clint Eastwood said in a 1988 interview that he and Van Horn “share the same tastes, in terms of getting the story out there before the camera. Taste is an elusive kind of thing you really can’t explain to someone. It’s just there or it isn’t,” THR cites amidst announcing his friend’s death.
Buddy Van Horn would also serve as stunt coordinator for numerous Eastwood films, including:
- The Gauntlet (1977)
- Sudden Impact (1983)
- Pale Rider (1985)
- In the Line of Fire (1993)
- Space Cowboys (2000)
- Mystic River (2003)
- Million Dollar Baby (2004)
- Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)
- J. Edgar (2011)
2011’s J. Edgar would be his final credit.
Surviving Van Horn are his wife, Konnie, and their daughters Erika and Jennifer. Grandchildren Morgan, Cade, Hayden, Cole, and Landon also live on to carry his legacy. As does his dear friend, Clint Eastwood.
R.I.P. to a Hollywood icon, Buddy Van Horn. What a remarkable life.