Mr. Bondurant, pictured here giving an autograph to a little boy while working as a race promoter at Arlington National Cemetery. (Photo: Pete Marovich / Getty Images)
Bob Bondurant, the beloved Hollywood stuntman who trained Jerry Lewis, Errol Flynn and many other top-flight performers and stuntmen on the track, died Saturday at his home in Burbank, Calif.
He was 88.
“Everything I learned in training was all laid out for me in a magnificent book,” Mr. Bondurant told The New York Times in 1988, after he retired from racing to become a Hollywood stunt coordinator. “It went through everything from the old Goldfinger movies to Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
He managed many films and documentaries, ranging from a big-screen version of Moss Hart’s play “The Threepenny Opera” to a documentary about the Little Brown Jug race from England to Mexico, hosted an infomercial about professional endurance racing and appeared in several documentaries that chronicled the sport.
Asked what he considered to be his greatest feat as a stuntman, Mr. Bondurant told The Times: “My most important accomplishment, up until now, is those years when I taught 150 actors and stuntmen the right way to do things. I’m proud of that.”
Mr. Bondurant served in the Navy during World War II. Afterward, he taught stuntmen and others how to compete in motocross and other racing events.
The Los Angeles Times last year ran a profile of Mr. Bondurant in which one of his former pupils, Errol Flynn, remembered Mr. Bondurant as “a supremely smart man.”
“He was a mentor,” Mr. Flynn recalled. “Sometimes I got nervous, and he’d just say, ‘Look, wait until you’re on the track. I’m going to wait until you’re in front of you. Then I’m going to approach you just as if you’re in front of me, like you’re standing on the truck. It just takes practice.’
“You just don’t learn how to do it without taking it from somebody who’s been in the shadows and is part of the pantheon.”