Gary Kent, the director, actor and stuntman who reportedly inspired Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, has died.
The news was broken to The Hollywood Reporter by Gary’s son, Chris Kent. He died on Thursday (May 25) at an assisted care facility in Austin, Texas.
Born in 1933, in Walla Walla, Washington, Kent’s first acting role came in 1959, and while he appeared in a handful of acting roles across the decades that would follow, his most memorable and notorious work came as a stuntman.
Over the years, he suffered a host of serious injuries while at work, and gave up the work in 2002 after damaging his leg on set for Bubba Ho-Tep.
From then until close to his death, he continued to work as a stunt co-ordinator. His last credit came on 2019’s Sex Terrorists On Wheels.
While putting together the script for that year’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino interviewed Kent about his career and, according to the director of a 2018 documentary about Kent, used him as the inspiration for Brad Pitt’s character Cliff Booth, who was a stunt double for Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton.
See a host of tributes to Kent below.
Today we salute Gary Kent, 1933-2023. The stories he shared with us at many screenings of his films, at the @fantasticfest stuntman panel, and for our ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD pre-show will live on forever. pic.twitter.com/zSZXsSMePE
— Alamo Drafthouse (@alamodrafthouse) May 26, 2023
My friend Gary Kent has traveled on. He was a stuntman, actor, filmmaker, author, and wise kind-soul. He lived and loved and shined, shined, shined. pic.twitter.com/4OpQGIn3mQ
— Owen Egerton (@Owen_Egerton) May 27, 2023
June 7th, 1933 – May 25th, 2023
My dad talks a scene over with a couple of co-stars. pic.twitter.com/GL08TLSvKd
— Greg MacKellan (@GeeEssMacky) May 26, 2023
#RIP Gary Kent. A stuntman for 50 years and a good guy much longer, he doubled for Jack Nicholson, worked for Peter Bogdanovich, Richard Rush, Monte Hellman and Al Adamson and told Tarantino all about meeting Charles Manson at the Spahn Ranch. https://t.co/7Ck4Cox5xK
— Mike Barnes (@MikeBarnes4) May 26, 2023
— Joe O’Connell (@joemoconnell) May 26, 2023
Another of the greats has left us: Gary Kent 1933 – 2023. His achievements in motion pictures dating back to the late fifties, spanning all kinds of genres and budgets, are too many to mention.
— Severin Films (@SeverinFilms) May 26, 2023
Kent is survived by six children and four grandchildren. As the Austin Chronicle reports, his family will honour his wishes and scatter his ashes in the Pacific Ocean.