The group of authors who repeatedly defied death in order to make it to a booth at the 2013 LA Times Festival of Books is very small. FishbowlLA was lucky enough to spend some time Sunday chatting with one of them.
Julie Ann Johnson was at the event with her co-author, three-time Pulitzer nominee David L. Robb, to promote their recent release The Stuntwoman: The True Story of a Hollywood Heroine. Though the bulk of the book is about how she was blackballed from the industry for blowing the whistle on unsavory working conditions on the set of Aaron Spelling‘s TV series Charlie’s Angels, we asked her about her experiences with the legendary Hal Needham, author of a similar 2011 tome and the recipient of a recent honorary Academy Award.
Johnson talked to us about the stunt she and Needham did for the 1976 movie Nickelodeon, starring Burt Reynolds and Ryan O’Neal. It is one of several collaborations with Needham she covers in Chapter 18 (“A Piece of Cake”). The scene required Needham to dangle Johnson, doubling respectively for Reynolds and Jane Hitchcock, high up in the air from a hot air balloon:
It was a great scene; the studio even used it in the poster for the film. But it almost got Julie and Hal killed – again…