Wayne “Buddy” Van Horn, Clint Eastwood’s longtime stunt double and sometimes director, died on May 11, according to an obituary from the Los Angeles Times on Sunday. He was 92.
Van Horn served as stunt coordinator on Eastwood’s films from 1972 to 2011, including “The Enforcer,” “The Gauntlet” and “Sudden Impact.” He also served as second unit director on Eastwood’s “Magnum Force” before taking on full directing duties on 1980’s “Any Which Way You Can,” 1988’s “The Dead Pool,” the fifth and final appearance of Eastwood’s iconic character, “Dirty” Harry Callahan, and then 1989’s “Pink Cadillac.”
A skilled horseman from a young age, Van Horn loved to tell stories of riding his pony for miles in the valleys and canyons surrounding North Hollywood as a kid. His rugged skillset earned him a gig riding horses as an extra in westerns. However, on the set of his second film, Van Horn received a letter notifying the 21-year-old that he’d been drafted. This led to two years of U.S. Army service in Germany during the Cold War.
Following his service, Van Horn continued to work in television and film. His first big-time job was as Guy Williams’s stunt double in Walt Disney’s Zorro series, which ran from 1957 to 1958. The 1960s saw Van Horn doubling for even bigger names on even bigger jobs, including Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, Lee Marvin and Henry Fonda. He also utilized his fencing skills in fight scenes in films such as “Spartacus” and “The War Lord.”
Van Horn became Clint Eastwood’s stunt double in 1967, a partnership that would endure for over 44 years and over 30 films, including the classic “Dirty Harry” film series. His most prominent on-screen appearance not as Eastwood came in 1973’s “High Plains Drifter,” in which he played Marshal Jim Duncan. Taking advantage of Van Horn’s resemblance to the actor, his casting was meant to suggest that he and Eastwood’s “Stranger” character were actually the same person. The veteran stunt man followed Eastwood throughout his own directorial career until 2011’s “J. Edgar.”
Van Horn is survived by his wife Konne, two daughters Erika and Jennifer; and five grandchildren, Morgan, Cade, Hayden, Cole, and Landon.