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Posts Tagged ‘Hal Needham’

Hollywood Stuntwoman Recalls Trial Balloon Work with Hal Needham

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…

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Academy Announces 2012 Honorary Oscar Recipients

Ever since the Academy split off the honorary Oscars into a separate, non-televised event (this year’s dinner will be held Saturday, December 1), lucky attendees have noted it makes for a more intimate and entertaining evening than the big show that follows. An obvious reason is that each winner has (much) more time to tell stories when they accept a prize.

The anecdotes should be rich and plentiful for 2012, thanks to the Academy’s announcement late last night that AMPAS will honor stuntman Hal Needham, documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker, AFI founding director George Stevens Jr. and Dreamworks exec Jeffrey Katzenberg with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. THR was first to pick up the news, followed by EW and the LA Times. In his quick-take separate analysis, THR awards watcher Scott Feinberg notes an important aspect to this year’s choices:

This is the first time since the creation of the Governors Awards in 2009 that an actor will not be among the honorees. Early responses to the announcement of this year’s selections have included surprise and dismay that a woman and/or a person of color is not among this year’s honorees…

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