Choya Shane, Stuntman on TV’s 'The Virginian,' Dies at 80

Choya Shane The Virginian - S 2015
Courtesy of Eugene Shane Steward

Choya Shane The Virginian - S 2015

He also worked on such films as 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' and 'The Wild Bunch' and had a bullwhip act with his brother.

Choya Shane, a veteran stuntman and bullwhip expert who doubled for actor James Drury on the popular 1960s NBC Western The Virginian, has died. He was 80.

Shane died May 8 of complications from emphysema in a Las Vegas rehabilitation center, his son, Eugene Shane Steward, told The Hollywood Reporter.

His older brother was Dick Shane, an actor and stuntman who died June 29. He also worked on The Virginian, which was television’s first 90-minute color Western series. The Universal show, also starring Doug McClure, aired from 1962 to 1971, and only Gunsmoke and Bonanza among Westerns ran longer.

When they weren’t doing stunts, the brothers traveled the country as part of a troupe called Whips, Garters & Guns. They went out on their own as The Shane Duo and once performed their bullwhip act for the Queen of England at the Palladium in London.

Later, they launched the International Stunt Actors Association, a stunt school based in Riverside, Calif.

Choya Shane worked on scores of films, including Cimarron (1960), How the West Was Won (1962), Cat Ballou (1965), Stagecoach (1966), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), The Wild Bunch (1969), One More Train to Rob (1971) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972).

His TV résumé included the shows Cisco Kid, Gunsmoke, Wyatt Earp, Maverick, The Untouchables, Ironside, Emergency!, The Wild, Wild West and Rat Patrol.

Shane’s last professional gig came in 1983 as a technical adviser, rigging stunt vehicles for the ABC show Celebrity Daredevils, directed by Tony Verna.

Shane and his son also helped found Spotlight Film Productions, a video and audio production company.

Twitter: @mikebarnes4