'Indiana Jones' Stuntman Terry Richards Dies at 81

Lucas Film
Richards as the Cairo Swordsman in "Raiders of the Lost Ark"

One of the U.K.'s most prolific stuntmen, Richards appeared in over 100 films, including "Star Wars," "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and nine James Bond films.

In his most memorable screen moment, Terry Richards played the Cairo Swordsman in the first Indiana Jones movie, giving an intimidatingly skillful sword display before being shot dead by a smirking Harrison Ford.

Over the course of his five-decade career, Richards also battled four different 007s in nine separate James Bond films.

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"He fought Indiana Jones, James Bond, Luke Skywalker and Rambo — there's not many people who can say that," his son Terry Richards Jr. told the BBC.

Other film appearances included The Avengers, The Princess Bride, Zulu and The Dirty Dozen. He also doubled for Donald Sutherland, Tom Selleck and Christopher Lee.

Richards was born David Terence Richards in South London in 1932. He joined his first film in 1957, when a friend in the Welsh Guards mentioned that a project was looking for extras with military training.

"He was paid extra to fall off some scaffolding in a riot scene, which he did for a few extra pounds, and that was the beginning of his stunt career," said his daughter-in-law, Lisa Thomas.

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By 1958 he had appeared opposite Kirk Douglas in The Vikings. He helped found the U.K.'s The Stunt Register in 1960. Over the next 50 years he worked on more than 100 films. His last project was Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), in which he fought with Pierce Brosnan in a recording studio. He was in his mid-60s at the time.

His family said he died suddenly on Saturday. A funeral is being planned in northwest London.

"He'd been dragged behind cars, fallen off buildings, shot, punched," his son said. "He always used to get up, but this time, sadly, he wasn't getting up."