Legendary Hollywood Stuntman Eddie Braun Is the New Face of Men's Adventure Brand Best Made Co.
Braun regaled guests at a Hollywood launch dinner with stories about doubling for Charlie Sheen, Lee Majors and Chuck Norris — and that time he jumped Idaho's Snake River Canyon in a rocket.
Eddie Braun isn’t your typical fashion model.
He’s a 56-year-old Hollywood stuntman who has purposely avoided the spotlight over his more than three decades in the business.
“People see what I do, but you never actually see me,” he said. “You’re not supposed to see the stuntmen.”
But now he’s the new face of Best Made Co., the adventure brand that famously launched in New York in 2009 with a line of artisanal axes but that now includes men’s clothing and accessories, cookware, knives, brightly colored metal toolboxes and footlockers, home furnishings and dog products. The brand's fans include Armie Hammer, Jason Sudeikis and Tim McGraw.
“To me, Eddie is the embodiment of the Best Made man. Adventure is his life,” the company’s founder, Peter Buchanan-Smith, told The Hollywood Reporter last night at The Hearth and Hound restaurant in Hollywood, where he was hosting a dinner in Braun’s honor. “The other quality I think that makes him a Best Made man is he’s unsung. He’s not out there looking for fame. He’s almost rejecting fame.”
Braun’s seemingly endless list of action credits range from 1980 television classics The Dukes of Hazzard, The Fall Guy and Magnum, P.I. to films including Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Moneyball, The Avengers and Bad Moms. He's doubled for Charlie Sheen, Lee Majors and Chuck Norris, among others.
And in 2016, he capped off his career by becoming the only man to ever jump across Idaho’s Snake River Canyon in a rocket, a 3.9-second stunt that his childhood idol, Evel Knievel, attempted but failed in 1974 when he crashed into the river after his parachute deployed too early. Soaring 3,000 feet into the air at about 450 miles per hour, there was a 50-50 chance that Braun would not survive. It was a risk he was willing to take because, he said, “I’m all good. I’m at peace with my maker.”
For his wife of almost 25 years, Meg, it was just another day at the office. She was doing laundry at their home in Manhattan Beach, California, while Braun was jumping the canyon. “I can’t watch him do a lot of his work,” she said. “It’s too much.”
Braun called her as soon as he landed. “I was relieved, and then I went back to doing laundry,” Meg said.
Braun is currently shopping around Stuntman, a feature documentary about the jump that he hopes to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
As for his work with Best Made, Braun admits he was reluctant when Buchanan-Smith first approached him about the idea of appearing in a catalog.
“But I met Peter, and I liked him.” Braun added. “I saw the product, and I fell in love with it. It’s real. When I find a person who is real or a product, I’m all over it. Meeting Peter and seeing the coolness of everything Best Made, it was great.” (The company also gives back, with proceeds from its Fortitude ax and Be Optimistic felt badges going to the It Gets Better Project, an anti-bullying organization for LGBTQ youth.)
The cover of the catalog features Braun leaning against his rocket (named the Evel Spirit, in honor of Knievel), wearing a Best Made denim work shirt ($148), a Gfeller leather belt ($128) and a pair of Levi’s 1954 501s ($240).
In another shot, next to his Ferrari with vanity plates that read “CRASH 4U,” Braun dons a short-sleeve Burma cloth shirt ($118) and lightweight five-pocket work pants ($138). A pair of Randolph Engineering Sportsman sunglasses ($220) hang from his shirt pocket.
The last page in the catalog is a photo of Braun and his 19-year-old son, Deck, an aspiring musician.
Also appearing in the catalog are fellow stuntmen Simon Rhee (WestWorld), brothers Houston and Kanan Hooker (Spy Kids) and Aaron Toney (Black Panther), as well as stuntwoman Melissa Stubbs (Game of Thrones).
This was the first time the Best Made catalog was shot in L.A. “We’ve always gone to far-flung remote places,” Buchanan-Smith said. “Initially when I told my team that it’s going to be L.A., they were like, ‘Are you crazy?’ I told them, ‘I have an idea — we’re going to find a stuntman.’ ”
Director David Lynch introduced him to Braun. “I showed Eddie what we were about,” Buchanan-Smith said. “It’s about legacy. I said, ‘Look, your son is going to be wearing your Best Made jacket when you’re long gone.’ I think his calling in adventure is legacy, to leave something behind. He’s the guy who jumped the fucking canyon. He will be remembered forever for that.”
Braun is expected to be on hand tomorrow from noon to 3 p.m., when Best Made will have his Evel Spirit rocket on display at its store on South La Brea Avenue during a special afternoon barbeque beginning at 11 a.m.
Guests at last night’s dinner went home with an “Everything Here Is Wonderful” canvas tote, a baseball cap, a journal, a silver flask and a "Stunts Are My Way of Life" keychain.
Perhaps it's time for a collection of Best Made rockets, too.
Best Made Co., 145 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles