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Dar Robinson

The Ultimate Stuntman
Born Dar Allen Robinson
March 26, 1947(1947-03-26)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died November 21, 1986 (aged 39)
Page, Arizona, U.S.
Years active 1973 – 1986

Dar Allen Robinson (March 26, 1947 – November 21, 1986) was an American stunt performer and actor. Robinson broke nine world records and set 21 "world's firsts." He invented the decelerator (use of dragline cables rather than airbags for stunts that called for a jump from high places) which allowed a cameraman to film a top-down view of the stuntman as he fell without accidentally showing the airbag on the ground. The original decelerator can still be seen on display in Arizona.


Robinson grew up in Los Angeles, California. One of Robinson's first major stunts was a 100 foot jump from a cliff into a river for actor Steve McQueen in the 1973 film, Papillon. In the same year, he appeared as a motorcycle stunt man in the Clint Eastwood film, Magnum Force. He is also remembered for driving over the edge of the Grand Canyon and safely parachuting out before hitting the ground. In 1979 he set the world record for a free-fall from a helicopter, dropping 311 feet (95 m) onto an airbag.

At 220 feet, Dar's stunt from Atlanta's Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel in Sharky's Machine still holds up as the highest free-fall (no wires) stunt to ever be performed from a building for a commercially-released film. However, despite it being a record-setting fall, in the final edit they are clearly using a dummy (only the briefest moment of the beginning of it is used in the movie).

In a highly publicized feat, as the stunt double for actor Christopher Plummer in the 1979 film production Highpoint, Robinson made a 700 foot free-fall from a deck on the world's tallest free-standing structure, the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada.

Robinson returned to Toronto to attempt a world record cable jump from the CN Tower for a feature-length television documentary film called The World's Most Spectacular Stuntman. The first test of the cable using a bag of water equal to Robinson’s weight smashed into the ground when the cable snapped. High winds and bad weather delayed the jump until August 12, 1980. Although visibly nervous, he leapt from the tower's edge, plummeting more than 1,200 feet (366 m) tied to only a 1/8" (3 mm) steel cable, stopping only a short distance above the ground. For this feat he was listed as highest paid stuntman for a single stunt to date in the 1988 Guinness Book of Records.


Dar Robinson's stunts were always well planned, and he never broke a bone in his 19-year Hollywood career. On November 21, 1986, on the set of the film Million Dollar Mystery, after completing the main stunt, the emergency medical staff was dismissed from the set, and while filming a routine high speed run by the camera, with a fellow stuntman, Robinson rode his stunt motorcycle past the braking point of a turn, and straight off a cliff, to his death.

Robinson is interred in the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. After his passing, a documentary on his life was made in 1988 titled The Ultimate Stuntman: A Tribute to Dar Robinson.

The last three films in which Robinson worked — Cyclone, Lethal Weapon, and Million Dollar Mystery — are all dedicated to his memory. Richard Donner's dedication in the closing credits of Lethal Weapon reads, "This picture is dedicated to the memory of Dar Robinson / one of the motion picture industry's greatest stuntmen".

His sons, Troy and Shawn, have both followed in their father's footsteps. Robinson's youngest son, Landon, has not.

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