Martin Grace, James Bond stuntman and double for
Roger Moore, has died at the age of 67...
Martin Grace (1942-2010)
28th January 2010
James Bond stuntman and stunt double Martin
Grace has passed away at the age of 67. Grace was an accomplished
stunt performer and coordinator, and was Roger
double through most of his Bond films.
Martin's first 007 credit was on "You
Only Live Twice" in
1967, before becoming Moore's regular stunt double from "The
Spy Who Loved Me" (1977) up until his departure from
the series in "A View To
A Kill" (1985).
Martin Grace was born in
Kilkenny, Ireland on 12th September 1942. During his time
at college at Kilkenny City, Grace first experienced action
movies when a tented traveling film show arrived in town.
Bitten by the bug, he moved to London in the early 1960's
to attend Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.
After joining a stunt agency, he found his first professional
work in commercials as the mysterious action man in the
Cadburys milk tray television ads. The secret agent aesthetic
and daring stunts would give him a taste of what 007 would
later offer him.
His first film credit was as a Thal on
the BBC's big screen adaptation of "Dr. Who and the
Daleks" in 1965.
Shortly thereafter, his first brush with Bond came when
stunt coordinator Bob Simmons and his right-hand man George
up almost every professional stunt man in England to perform
in the climatic volcano battle in "You
Only Live Twice" (1967).
Above: Stuntman Martin Grace
Simmons had noticed Grace in his Cadbury commercials.
Leech was similarly impressed by Grace, who then spent four weeks
honing his ninja skills: scaling nets, sliding down ropes and
practicing trampoline explosions. It was also on "You Only
Live Twice" that Grace met a young Vic Armstrong,
who went on to become stunt-coordinator and action unit director
later Bond movies.
In the 1970s, Grace performed at a nightly stunt
show tour across Scandinavia. Winning a Charlton Heston talent
contest in 1974 took him to Hollywood for the first time, where
he also attended stunt classes to hone his skills in driving,
parachuting, boxing, wrestling, fencing swimming and gymnastics.
His work as Roger
Moore's stunt double started
in 1975 when he was selected for "The
Spy Who Loved Me" (1977)
and continued in this role until Moore's departure from the series
with "A View To A Kill" (1985).
One of his first jobs as Moore's double was to drive the Lotus
Esprit through the windy
narrow streets of Sardinia during the helicopter and motorcycle
chase. But unlike almost every chase scene in the Bond series,
Grace was told explicitly that the 'hero' car had to be returned
to Lotus in the exact same condition it was delivered in! Grace
also doubled for Richard Kiel in
the long-shots of the Egyptian ruins when Jaws can be seen walking
high above the crumbling columns.
Another high-rise and high-stakes sequence for
Grace was the pre-title sequence of "For
Your Eyes Only" when he had
to hang on to the side of a helicopter as 'Blofeld' was trying
to his best to dispose of 007. Grace also doubled for Bond aloft
the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
in "A View To A Kill".
Above: Action shots
of the "Octopussy" train sequence.
Sadly, Grace suffered terrible injuries during
the production of "Octopussy" during
the train sequence shot at the Nene Valley Railway in Peterborough,
UK. To achieve the desired
shots, Grace was called on to leap on to the train from a moving
car and then later climb underneath and down the outer side of
the carriages. In a rush to wrap filming during a break in the
weather, communication broke down between the
the action, Grace, the train driver, and the rest of the stunt
team timing the sequence. Not being able to look in the direction
of travel, Grace was unaware of a solid wall built parallel to
the tracks on an unrehearsed section of track. The impact smashed
his pelvis and thigh bones, but the adrenaline rush allowed him
to hang on to the train until it came to a stop. He was rushed
to Peterborough Hospital where he lay prone for several months,
fearing that his career may be over. The accident badly affected
crew morale. Immediately upon his return from filming in India,
his first of
visits to Grace in hospital. Grace made a full recovery
in time for the next Bond outing.
Above: Martin Grace (pictured
far left) at "The Spy Who Loved Me" BondStars
Pinewood Studios in November 2008.
Grace also doubled for Moore in his non-Bond
films, including "The Wild Geese" (1978), "North
Sea Hijack" (1979), "Escape To Athena" (1979), "Sea
Wolves" (1980), and "The Naked Face" (1984).
He was a regular visitor to Kilkenny and his
home place of Lisdowney -
thrilling local school kids with his exploits on the film set
finding the time to visit old school mates and neighbours. Indeed
2006, a project on Martin Grace earned Clontubrid NS a national
One of his first teachers, Larry Hamilton described Martin as
gentleman, "very decent." Larry obviously played a
key role in inspiring
Martin as they always kept in touch with postcards from every
destination Martin worked in. "Martin Grace just loved people.
he went he always met the local people, hired the local people,
Fiji to South Africa to Poland, Martin always wanted to meet
people, and to enjoy their company and learn from them."
major film credits as a stunt performer or coordinator
include: "Superman" (1978), "Raiders of
the Lost Ark" (1981), "Robin Hood" (1991)
and "The Truman Show" (1998). Grace also made
appearances on screen as an actor. In 1997 he starred as
Captain Braga in "Robinson Crusoe", which featured
then-James Bond actor Pierce
Brosnan in the title role.
Over his career, Grace
worked on 73 motion pictures as well as many popular television
programs including "Monk" and "Heroes".
His last big-screen stunt work was on the 2007 Jim Carrey
vehicle "The Number 23".
After suffering a cycling accident in
late November 2009, Martin fractured his pelvis and was
hospitalised for some
weeks. In late January he was taken from his home
in Spain to hospital again after developing breathing problems.
died aged 67 on 27th January 2010 after suffering an aneurism.
His funeral service was held at St. Brigid's
Mass on Friday 19th February at 11am, followed by burial in St.
Lachtin's Cemetery, Freshford.
has one surviving immediate relative in his birth county of Lisdowney,
Paddy. He is also survived by his daughter Donna, a doctor in
England. Sir Roger Moore described him as the bravest
man he ever knew.
Only Live Twice
Spy Who Loved Me
Your Eyes Only
To A Kill