Raiders Of The Lost Ark Swordsman Terry Richards Dies

Ben Arnold

Terry Richards, the stuntman Harrison Ford abruptly shot dead in ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, has died at the age of 81.

Richards had worked for 50 years in more than 100 films, including appearances in nine James Bond movies, before retiring in 1999.

He died suddenly on June 14, his family revealed.

He also acted as a stunt double for the likes of Tom Selleck, Christopher Lee and Donald Sutherland.

“He fought Indiana Jones, James Bond, Luke Skywalker and Rambo - there’s not many people who can say that,” his son Terry Richards Junior told the BBC.

Read more: Harrison Ford pictured in wheelchair after accident

Despite roles opposite the greats, like Kirk Douglas in ‘The Vikings’, and parts in films like ‘The Princess Bride’, ‘The Bourne Identity’, ‘Flash Gordon’, ‘Zulu’ and ‘The Dirty Dozen’, it was perhaps for his role as the Egyptian sword-wielder in ‘Raiders’ that he was best known.

The story of the fight is now part of film history, with the scene originally planned to centre around a prolonged fight between Ford and Richards.

But due to Ford having contracted dysentery while filming, he was instead dispatched with a single bullet, after an impressive display of sword skills which he had ‘trained and trained’ to perfect.

"I was no longer capable of staying out of my trailer for more than it took to expose a roll of film, which was 10 minutes, and then I would have to flee back there for sanitary facilities,” said Ford.

Richards' family added that he had enjoyed ‘a good life’ full of travel and that ‘he was a great character, a good story teller, very charming and full of humour, and was well loved and respected in the film industry’.

“He’d been dragged behind cars, fallen off buildings, shot, punched,” his son Terry went on.

“He always used to get up, but this time sadly he wasn’t getting up.”

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Photos: Lucasfilm/Rex Features