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Saturday, 08 October 2011 14:31

50th Anniversary of the Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures

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   It was a real thrill to be around the folks who put the "wow" and the "pow" in the productions as they gathered to celebrate their exciting history. The Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures had a 50th anniversary gala and it was a great place to be to truly appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into their profession. The organization's Conrad Palmisano deserves kudos for putting the evening together. Event chair was Jonathan Arthur, who showed a clip reel of stunts dating from the silent film era to the present. "It's a proud time for all of us. We get to do some pretty amazing things,"  said SAMP president Mark Donaldson.
   C. Thomas Howell was the emcee for the event. The son of stuntman Chris Howell, Thomas talked about getting started in the industry as a kid doing stunts for Steven Spielberg in ET.
   SAMP handed out some honors at the celebration. Harrison Ford was on hand to get the first Richard Farnsworth Award, named for the stuntman who became an Oscar-nominated actor.  Ford was in good humor and expressed his respect for all the stunt professionals. After watching a clip reel of his action scenes in various movies, Ford said, "That was about 90 per cent of other people pretending to be me."
   Donaldson paid tribute to stuntman-pilot extraordinaire Thomas H. Friedkin, who was honored with the President's Award. Friedkin was unable to attend but sent a heartfelt message of gratitude.
   The event was a benefit for the SAG Foundation which helps performers in need. Pamela Reed, first v.p. of the SAG Foundation, promised the foundation would "spend the funds wisely."
    It was a great group of people to be around, fun-loving folks who love the thrills in life. Howell put it best when he expressed his respect for the stuntmen and women saying, "You look death in the eye and kick its ass on a daily basis."
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