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A tribute to stuntman Roy Alon, who passed away in February 2006


Interview conducted by Jon Auty in 2001.   Pictures ©

Stuntman Roy Alon

This interview first appeared in Issue 1 of STUNTS magazine. Many thanks to Jon Auty for allowing us to re-print his article for Roy's legions of fans to enjoy.

Roy Alon is one of the worlds great stunt performers and when he's not working on another long running television series or creating new and exciting stunts for film he's explaining his craft to the new performers arriving onto Equity's 'Stunt Register'. I first became aware of Roy after he won the ITV programme Stunt Challenge in 1983. He reversed a car up a ramp and through the side of an articulated lorry. This, I was to find out, was only one of his many talents. Versatile is his middle name as seen here from 'Curse of the Pink Panther' where he doubles for Herbert Lom during the films climatic sequence. His engineering background told that if he was to perform this 'gag' successfully he'd have to tether the wheel-chair with fish wire. After all you don't want to be crushed by the wheel-chair after surviving the initial 70ft fall. So he could concentrate on his fall and positioning and not worry about where the wheel-chair was going to be. 

 I caught up with Roy at Yorkshire Television in Leeds and asked him about those special moments he's created on screen. Starting with his first feature film.

'My first actual feature film was 'A Bridge Too Far'. I'd done a lot of television before and I was still living in the North, although I had met a few of the established stunt-men like Gerry Crampton, Colin Skeaping and Marc Boyle etc. Then in 1976 I got a phone call from Andy Armstrong to work at Plnewood Studios on 'The New Avengers'. The job involved diving head first from a speeding truck, which was driven by Alan Stuart. Rocky Taylor, doubling for the hero, was driving the car chasing us and Eddie Stacey was jumping out of the way. I had a really great time. Fortunately the job also went well and I will always be grateful to Andy Armstrong because he then recommended me to his brother Vic, who was doing the film 'A Bridge Too Far' with Alf Joint in Holland. Consequently, I finished up in Holland, riding in the back of a speeding jeep driven by Vic which he was about to crash and turn over and, as the bullets rang out, once again I dived out head first and went sliding down the tarmac. It was on that film, that I met my great pal Billy Horrigan and people like Paul Weston, Chris Webb, George Leach (Wendy's father), Stuart Fell, etc. and many more. Most of them have become more than just colleagues but also genuine friends over the years. It was a real turning point.'

  This was the start of a very solid working relationship with Vic Armstrong. Whenever Vic needed a stuntman to perform something a little different, he'd call Roy. A perfect example of this was on the 1981 film 'Green Ice' where a high fall was called for whilst on location in Mexico City.

Roy Alon performing a spectacular high-dive for the film 'Green Ice' in Mexico City

'Well, it was Vic's 'gag'. He was Stunt Co-ordinator and he probably also directed the second unit. He had been to Mexico on a recce and had seen the building which was over 300ft high. He told me about the 'Fan Descender' which Dave Bickers had made and which we would be using in the film to escape from the building. Later on Vic decided we could also do part of the fall using the fan-descender for the first time ever, which was a brilliant idea. So when you put the 'descent' together with a genuine highfall you get the best of both worlds. This technique has since been copied many times. There's a funny thing about this fall. Vic asked if I fancied doing it. I'd thought about it and said yes, because it's great to be asked and offered a 100ft fall at that time was, to a stuntman, a bit like an actor being offered the lead in a West End play. Although my fall was to be in Mexico in a couple of months, by coincidence Vic himself also had a 100ft fall to perform the following week, on a different film here in the UK, so he suggested that we rehearse our falls together at R.A.F Cardington in the giant airship hangers. So we both went there and together we practiced falls into an air-bag, each time getting progressively higher as we rehearsed, learning not only the skills required in high-falls, but also how to conquer our fears and to overcome other problems. As anyone who has ever done it will tell you, each time you go higher it can and does get scary, but also it is great fun. At one point, Vic had just done around 80 to 85ft and was about to go up to the 90ft level. Personally, I was having difficulty progressing beyond the 80ft level, so I said to Vic, "What I'm going to do is to go up to a much higher level and then look down and watch you from above. When you go, I'm going to run back down to the lower level, which hopefully will now 'appear' much lower, to follow you and jump off'. Well I felt I was getting close to what at that time was approaching my limit and as I said, I was having a few problems getting past 80ft. So now I'm standing high above Vic looking down at him way below on the 90ft ledge, watching his every move. After a few short moments, he leaned slightly forwards and very slowly, allowed his body attitude to tilt past the point of balance moving into the zone from which there is no turning back. At this point, to maintain control he pushed off and just sailed way out and downward dropping away further and further. It seemed like he was going on forever and I'm asking myself, when is he going to tuck? Just like a Formula One car coming straight at you on TV, there's a distortion of distance, which is just what it looked like from above. It seemed to take forever and I was wandering by now is he ever going to tuck, sooner or later he has to, he must, and eventually he did just before landing on the bed. Up to this point, I was still holding my breath when I realised I had to follow that and do the same. For some reason, hurrying back down the steps no longer appealed to me so I slowly walked back down as I mentally prepared myself to follow him.


©2001 Jon Auty. All rights reserved.

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