Bud Ekins, Stunt Man, R.I.P.

Martin Schwoerer
by Martin Schwoerer
bud ekins stunt man r i p

Car buffs around the world have wasted countless hours debating whether the automotive stunt work in Bullitt or The French Connection qualifies as The Mother of All Car Chases. Obviously, Bullitt is the correct answer. Bud Ekins was the man behind the man behind the wheel. But first, Ekins performed the over-the-fence motorbike jump in "The Great Escape;" the most famous motorcycle stunt ever performed in a movie. After that immortal movie moment, motor mad actor Steve McQueen tapped Ekins to create the superhuman driving in "Bullitt." The movie earned Ekins his place in Hollywood legend– even though the studio insisted on crediting McQueen with the driving. (Ekins didn't mind; he valued his friendship with McQueen more than industry accolades.) Ekins went on to work on other super-stunt films such as "Blues Brothers" ("They got everything in this mall") and "Diamonds are Forever" (two wheel driving through an alley). When his pal and fellow race car driver McQueen died in 1980, Ekins retired from stunt driving, heartbroken. He spent his remaining days restoring and collecting Triumph motorbikes. His only regret in life? "Opening a Triumph dealership, instead of working for Honda."

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  • Bisbonian Bisbonian on Oct 12, 2007

    Bud was a legend. It was he who jumped the motorcycle near the end of "The Great Escape"

  • Martin Schwoerer Martin Schwoerer on Oct 13, 2007

    Sajeev: Ronin! Yes! I've seen that movie about 15 times. Wish I had seen the 1974 Gone in 60 Sec movie, though. Can't get it here.

  • Skor Skor on Oct 14, 2007

    Sorry, but the Seven-ups was a cheap Bullitt rip-off transplanted to the East Coast. Apparently they even used the same sound effects as Bullitt. Just how do you double clutch an automatic?

  • Cjcoutts Cjcoutts on Oct 19, 2007

    Sorry your gone "Bud"..I'm sure Steve is waiting with beer in hand to go over the old days..R.I.P.