Terry Richards, the British stunt man who fought four James Bonds, Indiana Jones and others, died June 17 in England. He was in 81.
In a career that often demands anonymity while doubling for more recognizable actors, Richards was easily recognizable in his most iconic screen appearance. For Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Richards appears as the black-glad Cairo swordsman who attempts to goad Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) into a fight while the hero is trying to save his girlfriend, who has been abducted by Nazis. Richards trained for weeks for what was to be an elaborate action sequence. But on the day it was to be filmed, Ford was ill and suggested that he just “shoot” Richards instead. Although Richards was disappointed that his preparations were for naught, the gag became one of the most remembered moments of the film and in later years Richards would find his appearance memorialized in the form of an action figure and a Lego mini-fig.
Richards started his career in 1957 when a friend of his in the Welsh Guards told him that a film in production nearby was looking for extras with a military background. When he was paid extra to fall of a scaffolding in a riot scene, he found himself a new career.
Over the four decades that he worked as a stuntman, Richards worked on numerous films including The Vikings (1958), The Princess Bride, Zulu, The Dirty Dozen, Red Sonja and Kidnapped. He has served as a stunt double for the like of Christopher Lee, Tom Selleck, Donald Sutherland, Dave Prowse and George Kennedy.
Richards also worked on nine James Bond films, with four different ‘Bonds’ and his final film appearance saw him fighting with Pierce Brosnan in a recording studio in 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies.