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Richard E. Butler

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Stunt double Brian Keith, Progress

...as stunt double for Brian Keith

Richard E. Butler, better known as Dick Butler, is a retired stuntman and stunt coordinator who served as stunt coordinator on the Star Trek: The Next Generation pilot episode "Encounter at Farpoint" in 1987. Six years later he worked as stunt double for late actor Brian Keith on the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Progress", where he doubled Keith's heavy moves against stunt actor Tom Morga and his fall back after he was "shot". For both Trek assignments Butler received no on-screen credit.

Early career ('60s)

During his time as football player at the UCLA, Butler went to a casting for Stanley Kubrick's historic drama Spartacus (1960) and was hired as a background performer, a gladiator. After his last semester he decided to make his goal in the film industry as a stunt performer. Among his stunt work in the '60s was the crime comedy It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963, along with Janos Prohaska, Carey Loftin, Robert Herron, Gary Epper, Dick Crockett, and Paul Stader), the television drama Fade-In (1968), the comedy The Great Bank Robbery (1969), and two episodes of Daniel Boone (1969-1970, with James Doohan and Frank Orsatti).

Butler also worked as stunt coordinator for the first time when he coordinated several episodes of the drama series Adam-12 (1968-1975, starring William Boyett).

The '70s

Beside stunt work in films such as the comedy Mrs. Pollifax-Spy (1971), Peter Bogdanovich's musical comedy What's Up, Doc? (1972, under stunt coordination of Paul Baxley), the science fiction films Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), and the action thriller The Towering Inferno (1974), Butler is probably best known for doubling Sean Connery's Mustang Mach1 driving stunts in Guy Hamilton's spy action Diamonds Are Forever (1971, along with Vince Deadrick, Sr., Donna Garrett, Nick Dimitri, and Jerry Summers) and Robert Shaw's shark stunts in Steven Spielberg's thriller Jaws (1975, with Frank James Sparks and Dick Ziker).

While still working on Adam-12 until 1975, Butler worked on almost every police series in Los Angeles. He performed stunts on The Streets of San Francisco and Matt Helm (1975) and served as stunt coordinator on Joe Forrester (1975-1976, with stunts by Gene LeBell and Dick Dial), Police Woman (1974-1978, with Donna Garrett), Police Story (1973-1977, with Hubie Kerns, Jr., Robert Herron, Gene LeBell, and Rick Sawaya), and Salvage 1 (1979).

Further stunt work includes the comedy Freaky Friday (1976), the television drama A Matter of Wife... and Death (1976), the action drama Black Sunday (1977, with stunts by Erik Cord, Bob Minor, and Paul Stader), the drama Stunts (1977, along with Jean Coulter and Bud Davis), the comedy Love and the Midnight Auto Supply (1977), Richard Donner's science fiction blockbuster Superman (1978, with Scott Leva and Ellen Bry), and the television drama A Woman Called Moses (1978).

Additional work as stunt coordinator includes the comedy action The Big Fix (1978, with Chuck Hicks) and the comedy The Prize Fighter (1979, with Gene LeBell and Charlie Picerni).

The '80s

In the '80s Butler served as stunt coordinator for a number of projects including the comedy Die Laughing (1980, with Eurlyne Epper and Leslie Hoffman), the comedy Up the Academy (1980, with Michael Cassidy, Ann Chatterton, and Erik Cord), the science fiction film TRON (1982, starring David Warner and stunts by Tony Brubaker, Gary Epper, Donna Garrett, Billy Hank Hooker, Glenn R. Wilder, and Al Jones), the television thriller Murder Me, Murder You (1983), and several episodes of the police series Today's F.B.I. (1981-1982), Scarecrow and Mrs. King. (1983-1987, with stunts by Steve Kelso, Lane Leavitt, and Tom Morga), Mike Hammer (1984-1987, with Gregory J. Barnett, Hubie Kerns, Jr., and Robert Herron), and Houston Knights (1987-1988, with Pat Romano).

As a stuntman he performed in the fantasy comedy Wholly Moses! (1980), the horror comedy Motel Hell (1980, with Bill Catching, Leslie Hoffman, and Sharon Shaffer), the drama Melvin and Howard (1980), the television comedy Revenge of the Gray Gang (1981), the adventure The High Country (1981), the western Hard Country (1981, with Don Pulford), the musical drama Pennies from Heaven (1981), the action fantasy film The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982, with Simone Boisseree, Phil Chong, Jophery C. Brown, Nick Dimitri, Vince Deadrick, Jr., Christopher Doyle, Chuck Hicks, Tom Morga, and Kym Washington), the comedy My Favorite Year (1982), Steven Spielberg's fantasy adventure E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), the comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), the drama Independence Day (1983), the thriller Angel (1984, with Kerrie Cullen and Vince Deadrick, Sr.), the comedy Bachelor Party (1984), the action thriller Commando (1985, with Joel Kramer and Spiro Razatos), the thriller 52 Pick-Up (1986), the action drama Omega Syndrome (1987), the thriller Maniac Cop (1988, with Phil Culotta, Corey Michael Eubanks, Matt McColm, Bernie Pock, Spiro Razatos, and John Cade), the horror film Cameron's Closet (1988), the thriller Midnight Run (1988), the drama Mississippi Burning (1988), the action film One Man Force (1989), the fantasy adventure Ghostbusters II (1989, with Vince Deadrick, Jr., Bob Minor, and Spice Williams-Crosby), the horror film Criminal Act (1989), the comedy Three Fugitives (1989), the thriller Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects (1989, with Buck McDancer, Dennis Madalone, James Lew, Noon Orsatti, and Frank Orsatti), the thriller Hit List (1989), the television series B.L. Stryker (1989), the horror film Night Life (1989), the drama Johnny Handsome (1989), and the television drama Night Walk (1989, with Jim Wilkey).

He also performed stunts in Robert Zemeckis' fantasy comedy Back to the Future in 1985 on which he worked as stunt driver for the DeLorean. He doubled Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and portrayed Albert Einstein while driving the car. [1]

The '90s

Credits as stunt coordinator in the '90s include the television thriller Murder in Paradise (1990), the comedy Far Out Man (1990), Spiro Razatos' action film Fast Getaway (1991), John Paragon's television adventure Ring of the Musketeers (1992, with John Rhys-Davies and Corbin Bernsen), the comedy Teresa's Tattoo (1994, with Majel Barrett-Roddenberry), the comedy Angus (1995), the television drama She Cried No (1996), the action thrillers Top of the World (1997) and The Rage (1997), the action film Inferno (1998, starring Stephanie Niznik), the comedy The Glass Jar (1999), and the television series Mike Hammer, Private Eye (1997-1998) and Team Knight Rider (1997-1998).

In addition Butler continued to perform stunts in films such as the comedy Secret Agent OO Soul (1990), the action comedy Loose Cannons (1990), the drama The Handmaid's Tale (1990, with Jim Wilkey and Steve Kelso), Paul Verhoeven's science fiction film Total Recall (1990), the thriller Maniac Cop 2 (1990), the drama Double Revenge (1990), the comedy Masters of Menace (1990, with Christine Anne Baur, Christopher Doyle, Nick Dimitri, and Gregg Sargeant), the comedy Too Much Sun (1990), the action comedy Kindergarten Cop (1990), the horror film Popcorn (1991), an episode of Hunter (1991, with Joey Aresco, Kelly Curtis, and Chuck Hicks), Steven Spielberg's fantasy film Hook (1991), the horror film 976-Evil II (1992), the comedy We're Talkin' Serious Money (1992), the fantasy film Adventure in Dinosaur City (1992, with Keith Campbell, Chris Durand, and Tim Trella), Roland Emmerich's science fiction film Universal Soldier (1992), the comedy Honey I Blew Up the Kid (1992), the comedy Mo' Money (1992), the action comedy Rescue Me (1992), the drama Love Field (1992), the crime drama Hoffa (1992), the action film Nowhere to Run (1993), the action thriller Bound By Honor (1993), the thriller Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence (1993), the comedy Twin Sitters (1994), the comedy Little Giants (1994), the thriller Class of 1999 II: The Substitute (1994), the comedy Clean Slate (1994), the mystery film Raging Angels (1995), the thriller Rage (1995), Martin Scorsese's drama Casino (1995), the action drama Last Man Standing (1996), the comedy Spy Hard (1996), Michael Bay's action thriller The Rock (1996), the thriller The Sweeper (1996, with Jeff Cadiente, Denney Pierce, and Chester E. Tripp III), the drama Basquiat (1996), the thriller Pure Danger (1996), the horror thriller The Relic (1997), the action film Back in Business (1997), the crime thriller Con Air (1997), the comedy Best Men (1997, with Eliza Coleman, Kurt D. Lott, Lincoln Simonds, and Terry Jackson), the horror sequel Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998, with Laura Albert, Brennan Dyson, and Chris Durand), the thriller Renegade Force (1998), the action drama Hot Boyz (1999), the television drama Hard Time: Hostage Hotel (1999, with Ken Clark, Mark DeAlessandro, Leigh Hennessy, and Joyce McNeal), the fantasy adventure Inspector Gadget (1999), and the action thriller Storm Catcher (1999).

Later career (2000s)

In his last years in the stunt industry before he retired, Butler performed stunts in the action film Ground Zero (2000, with Cole McKay), the thriller Luck of the Draw (2000, with Joni and Rick Avery, Christopher Doyle, Henry Kingi, Jr., and Spiro Razatos), the crime thriller Get Carter (2000), the thriller The Right Temptation (2000), and the comedy Orange County (2002, with Janet Brady and Darlene Ava Williams).

In 2009 he was interviewed and received special thanks on the DVD documentary Looking Back to the Future regarding his work on the film Back to the Future in 1985. A year before, Butler faced a heart surgery but recovered soon. Butler is a Lifetime member of the Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures. [2]

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