Big, brawny, and imposing actor and stuntman Dick Durock was born on January 18, 1937 in South Bend, Indiana. The fourth of five children; he grew up in South Bend, Indiana and New Jersey. After serving a stint in the Marine Corps and briefly working as a computer programmer, Durock went to Hollywood to eke out a career in show business. He eventually amassed hundreds of credits in both movies and TV series alike (Durock sometimes worked on two different shows in the same day). Durock began his career in 1967 as the stunt double for Guy Williams on the final season of Lost in Space (1965). He also doubled for both Buddy Ebsen and Max Baer Jr. on The Beverly Hillbillies (1962). With his rough face, large, strong, muscular build and towering 6′ 5″ height Durock was usually cast as mean thugs who get beat up by the hero. Durock achieved his greatest enduring cult popularity with his excellent portrayal of the titular kind-hearted mutant superhero in Wes Craven’s delightful Swamp Thing (1982). He reprised the part in the amusingly campy sequel The Return of Swamp Thing (1989) and the spin-off cable TV series, Swamp Thing (1990). Durock’s other memorable roles include one of the terrorists in The Enforcer (1976), the bare knuckle brawler who fights Clint Eastwood at the start of Any Which Way You Can (1980), pie-eating contest champion “Bill Travis” in the charming Stand by Me (1986), and a hostile redneck hunter in the notorious turkey Howard the Duck (1986). Among the films Durock has performed stunts in are Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), License to Drive (1988), The Monster Squad (1987), Heat (1986), Runaway Train (1985), The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982), Bronco Billy (1980), 1941 (1979), Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (1975), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Hammer (1972) and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972). Durock had guest spots on such TV shows as Star Trek: The Original Series (1966), Baretta (1975), Quincy M.E. (1976), The Rockford Files (1974), Little House on the Prairie (1974), The Incredible Hulk (1977), The A-Team (1983), Magnum, P.I. (1980), Falcon Crest (1981), The Fall Guy (1981), Knight Rider (1982), Married… with Children (1987) and Dynasty (1981). He played the “Imperious Leader” on the science fiction series, Battlestar Galactica (1978). He was a proud and active member of the Stuntman’s Association of Motion Pictures for over 20 years. Durock lived in Southern California with his wife Jane and made frequent guest appearances at movie conventions held all over the country. He died after a long battle with Pancreatic Cancer at age 72 on September 17, 2009 in Oak Park, California.
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