Most Hollywood actors are forbidden from doing all but the simplest stunts, because of the studio's insurance policies. But some actors still demand to be in the thick of the action, while some comedians performed death-defying tricks before the term "stunt doubles" even existed. Discover who put themselves in mortal danger for your entertainment!
The silent film star tried to make sure his 1923 classic didn't live up to its title. Here's a shot of the legendary clock sequence in the movie, using a prop clock face on a fake wall constructed on an actual skyscraper.
He continued to perform dangerous stunts himself even after he lost his thumb and index finger of his right hand in 1919 in a prop bomb explosion. From then on, he used a special prosthetic glove in his films.
Jackie Chan is famous for performing virtually all his own stunts in his movies, including the time he crawled on a bed of burning hot coals on his hands and feet in Drunken Master II (he did it a second time, because he didn't like the first take). This policy has led to Chan breaking his "fingers, toes, nose, both cheekbones, hips, sternum, neck, ankle, and ribs." The stunts look cool, though.
(Via Tom Cruise)
Keaton was notorious for doing all his own stunts, whether they involved him getting hit on the head or scrambling around on a moving train. He actually broke his neck after having a water tower dumped on him during Steamboat Bill, Jr., although he didn't notice and kept filming.
Steamboat Bill, Jr. also contains his best-known stunt, where he walks onto a scene and a 4000 lb.(1800 kg) house wall crashes down on the actor, requiring him to stand in an exact spot that the open window — the not very large open window — would let him through unharmed. "I was mad at the time, or I would never have done the thing," the actor said later.
"The funny thing about having children is that now I am twice as motivated to do a cool stunt because my kids will like it," said the mother of six to Entertainment Weekly.
The 65-year old Governator still does his own stunts.
We're not 100% sure losing a terrifying 63 pounds (28.5 kgs) for his role of The Machinist (2004) counts as a stunt, but it's still impressive —‚he only ate coffee and apples for months in order to emaciate his frame. But then he immediately bulked back up and performed almost all of stunts in Christopher Nolan's three Batman movies.