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Louie Elias, a veteran Hollywood stuntman who is seen leaping from a blown-up guard tower during the opening credits of the 1960s ABC comedy F Troop, has died. He was 84.
Elias, the older brother of the late actor James Stacy and Emmy-nominated hairstylist Carolyn Elias, died Dec. 13, his family announced.
Elias doubled for Charles McGraw in Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, getting pushed into a giant vat by Kirk Douglas in a stunt that left a scar on his chin for life. He also served as Rod Taylor’s double throughout the Australian actor’s career.
On television, Elias stepped in for Robert Conrad on The Wild Wild West, for his brother on Lancer and for Michael Douglas on The Streets of San Francisco, and he was Swordfish, one of the henchman working for The Penguin (Burgess Meredith), during a Batman first-season installment.
Elias played Trooper Franklin on the first episode of F Troop, which aired in September 1965, and footage of his spectacular bailout — caused by a cannon mishap inside the fort — was reused for the opening of each show.
His career as a stuntman was slowed after he sustained a back injury during filming of the driving-intensive road movie Vanishing Point (1971).
Louie Nicholas Elias Jr. was born on Nov. 21, 1933, and raised in Burbank. His father was a bookmaker and his mother a waitress.
Elias was a defensive back and running back at UCLA for legendary coach Red Sanders, then played two seasons in the Canadian Football League.
His résumé as a stuntman also includes work on such films as Planet of the Apes (1968), The Wild Bunch (1969), The Longest Yard (1974) and Dick Tracy (1990).
As an actor, Elias also showed up on 77 Sunset Strip, The Outer Limits, Gunsmoke, Combat!, Get Smart, Star Trek, M*A*S*H, Charlie’s Angels and Simon & Simon, and he also wrote episodes of Dallas and Airwolf.
Memorial donations may be made to the Motion Picture Television Fund.
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