Anthony ‘Bronco’ McLoughlin, the Irish stunt legend who appeared in more than 50 movies, including Star Wars and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, has died at the age of 80.
His daughter Frances McLoughlin told The Hollywood Reporter that he died in his sleep at his home in Ashford, County Wicklow.
McLoughlin was a veteran stuntman and stunt co-ordinator, as well as working as a wrangler, animal trainer and horsemaster, having begun his movie career in the late 1960s.
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His nickname ‘Bronco’ was coined after he left Ireland at the age of 16 to become a cattle rancher in Australia.
On his return, he appeared in his first movie, The Viking Queen, shot in his native Wicklow.
He went on to double for Edward Woodward in Hammer horror classic The Wicker Man, and then in 1977 performed stunts in Star Wars, though uncredited, and lot some of his hearing following an on-set explosion.
As part of his work in 1984 sequel Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, he taught Harrison Ford how to use his iconic bullwhip properly.
In 1986 classic The Mission, he played the jesuit priest who is tied to a crucifix in the opening scenes, and pushed into the rapids and over a waterfall, for which wax models were made of him by Madame Tussauds (the moment even features on the film’s poster).
Bronco occasionally appeared as an actor too, playing the assassin who attempts to kill Daniel Day Lewis’s Bill The Butcher in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York.
He also found himself at the centre of some iconic movie moments, including catching the exploding head thrown by the fugitive Arnold Schwarzenegger in the famous ‘customs’ scene in Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall.
Other stunt roles came in movies like the 1978 Superman, Krull, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Rob Roy, and Tomorrow Never Dies, as well as British TV like London’s Burning, Father Ted, and The Fast Show.
His last screen appearances came in History channel series Vikings.
“He was a big talker and disapproved of inauthentic or urban activities, like gyms, for example,” his daughter Frances said. “He’d say, ‘If you want to get fit, help your neighbour build a wall’.”
Many have taken to Twitter to pay their respects:
It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of stuntman Bronco McLoughlin. A performer and coordinator with credits on many of the biggest films of all time including @007 and @starwars . He was also the man behind all the stunts on @Channel4 @FatherTedClips #stunts pic.twitter.com/0EtHVrNPdH
— Behind The Stunts (@stuntcentral) March 26, 2019
Irish actor, stuntman, animal trainer
Over 40 movies to his name including Superman, Total Recall, Indiana Jones, Star Wars and of course being tied to a wooden cross that goes over the waterfall in The Mission
His Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame ⭐️ shines bright
— Screen Guilds of Ireland (@screenguilds) March 26, 2019
R.I.P to our colleague and mentor Bronco McLoughlin. He truly was a trailblazer in the stunt world. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam @Scannain_com @screenproducers @screendirectors @ScreenIreland @NIScreen @IFTN @IFTA
— StuntRegisterIreland (@StuntRegisterIE) March 26, 2019
RIP Bronco McLoughlin.
Through the magic of movies that's him hurtling off the waterfall in THE MISSION, and burning inside THE WICKER MAN.
Taught Harrison Ford how to use a bullwhip.
His family once got a famous telegram: "Bronco bit by husky. Husky okay"https://t.co/1u9lUYCbcR
— Rhett Bartlett (@dialmformovies) March 27, 2019
Remembering the great Bronco McLoughlin R.I.P. who was a trailblazer in the stunt world. https://t.co/MHzV4rUICT
— Irish FilmTV Academy (@IFTA) March 27, 2019
A fund has also been set up to arrange a suitable memorial tribute for him.