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Jery Hewitt, who served as the stunt coordinator on Dick Wolf-produced shows for more than 30 years and on 14 Coen brothers films from Raising Arizona to Inside Llewyn Davis, has died. He was 71.
Hewitt died Saturday at a hospital in Middletown, New York, shortly after suffering “a catastrophic stroke,” his family and Wolf Entertainment said.
Often described as “the thinking man’s stunt coordinator,” Hewitt worked on on all 20 seasons of Wolf’s Law & Order, starting with the first in 1990, and on all 22 seasons of Law & Order: SVU, from the 1999 pilot through the current one.
His credits included more than 300 episodes of Wolf Entertainment programming, and he was on the job for SVU as recently as this month.
Hewitt “knew how to make things happen in a seamless and magical way,” the company said in a statement. “His laser-focused attention to detail ensured the safety of those he was working with and allowed the precision of the moment to be captured on film with clarity and the true beauty of the story he was helping to tell.”
Survivors include his wife, Jennifer Lamb, who worked with him as a stunt coordinator and stuntwoman for 25-plus years.
Hewitt first teamed with Joel and Ethan Coen on Raising Arizona (1987), and they would work together on Miller’s Crossing (1990), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Fargo (1996), The Big Lebowski (1998), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001), Intolerable Cruelty (2003), The Ladykillers (2004), No Country for Old Men (2007), Burn After Reading (2008), A Serious Man (2009), True Grit (2010) and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013).
Hewitt taught boxer-turned-actor Randall “Tex” Cobb how to ride a motorcycle for Raising Arizona and sent Lamb hurtling backward into a snake pit for the remake of True Grit.
Hewitt’s stunt résumé also included Fort Apache the Bronx (1981), Splash (1984), Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985), Crocodile Dundee (1986), Broadcast News (1987), New Jack City (1991), Hoffa (1992), Nell (1994), The Birdcage (1996), Cop Land (1997), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), School of Rock (2003), Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008), Tower Heist (2011) and Non-Stop (2014).
As an actor, Hewitt donned warpaint and pinstripes and wielded a bat as the leader of the Furies gang in The Warriors (1979), directed by Walter Hill, and he showed up in such other features as Wolfen (1981), Tempest (1982) and Malcolm X (1992).
He also assisted George Willig in his historic climb of the South Tower of New York’s World Trade Center in 1977.
Gerald Robert Hewitt was born in Brooklyn on March 6, 1949. He attended the State University of New York at Farmingdale and graduated with a degree in food science. The first movie he worked on was The Warriors, and he became a full-time stuntman/stunt coordinator after that.
Hewitt built his own home in Warwick, New York, restored an authentic 1857 12-pounder Napoleon Field Gun, collected antique Divco milk trucks — which he maintained in working order — and became a skilled hot-air balloon pilot. He often said, “If it ain’t broke, fix it!”
In addition to his wife, survivors include their children, Harry, Kevin, Sam and Molly; his brother, Don; and his sister-in-law, Mary.
On Friday, a gathering from 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m. will take place at the Lazear-Smith & Vander Plaat Memorial Home in Warwick. Donations in his name can be made to the Beautiful People Sports, which provides adaptive sports for children and young adults with disabilities.
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