The son of a Baptist minister and himself a devout Christian, Stan Barrett was a leading Hollywood daredevil, performing all the major stunts in Hooper, the film in which actor Burt Reynolds played the role of an ageing stuntman. Barrett has doubled for Reynolds and Paul Newman in numerous films including Smokey and the Bandit, Cannonball Run, Airport ’77 and When Time Ran Out. His career in motion pictures began in 1964 after four years in the US Air Force. He was just 17 when he reported for basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, near San Antonio, Texas, and was later sent across town to the School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base for additional schooling in the altitude chamber with partial and full pressure suits, and ejection seat training.
In December 1960, Barrett reported to Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois, for duty as a physiological training specialist. “I was in the business of teaching airmen and officers the techniques of survival at high altitudes,” he recalled.
When he left the Air Force, Barrett wanted to continue his career in the medical profession. “I went to the university of Oregon as a premed student. My work in the Air Force really gave me the interest for medicine as a career.
“But while in Oregon, I learned that a movie was being filmed nearby. I auditioned and got a small part in the Jimmy Stewart movie, Shenandoah, which led to my meeting Hal Needham and a career as a stuntman.” Barrett is a private pilot and has raced motorcycles. Former Golden Gloves lightweight champion in his home town of St Louis in 1959, he is a Black Belt in karate. Barrett was 36 when he drove the Budweiser Rocket, and lives on a ranch near Bishop, California with his wife Penny, and Melissa.