Remy Julienne, the stuntman behind six James Bond films and the original Italian Job, has passed away at the age of 90. According to the BBC, he died in France after contracting COVID-19. He had been intensive care at a hospital in Montargis since early January.
"It's with a heavy heart that we announce that Rémy left us during the night of January 2, 2021," a Twitter statement read, which was originally posted in French. "Yesterday, he still had plans for projects in mind. His body has left but he remains in our hearts." A relative told TopGear.com that the iconic stuntman had passed away on Thursday and that he had been on a respirator.
You put the bold into #Bond & so many other brilliant films #RemyJulienne RIP— mainakde (@mainakde) January 23, 2021
Stunt driving supremo Rémy Julienne is a legend Not just in Bond classics like For Your Eyes Only Octopussy A View To A Kill The Living Daylights but so many others including of course The Italian Job pic.twitter.com/bSn2bfuOah
The French motorbike champion in 1957, Julienne entered the film industry in 1964 as a motorcycle stunt rider. He started his career as a double for Jean Marais in the film Fantômas. Julienne went on to amass 1,400 credits that spanned movies, TV shows and commercials.
Throughout his career, Julienne worked with big names such as Lee Marvin, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Harrison Ford, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. He also worked with Roger Moore on three separate James Bond films. Julienne had the ability to make vehicles do very surprising things, such as a moment in 1989's License to Kill when one tanker truck goes onto half of its wheels while another does a wheelie.
Along with his work on James Bond films, Ronin and Goldeneye, Julienne stunned fans with his work on 1969's Italian Job. The climactic car chase featuring Mini Coopers crossing a river, diving into the metro and jumping off the roof of a Fiat factory.
"Very often people ask, 'what was my favourite stunt?' I’d say the jump between the two Fiat factory roofs must be the one because it was emotional because it was difficult," Julienne said, per TopGear.com. "We worked on the ground, we prepared the ramps, calculated distances, speeds etc. [Originally] it was decided I had to do three separate jumps in each Mini. I explained that, as the roof was very wide, we could make the three Minis jump all together… it looked much better as a shot. It was more complicated, but really amazing."
Julienne dealt with legal issues in 1999 that temporarily brought his career to a halt. Cameraman Alain Dutartre was killed and his assistant was seriously injured when one of the stunts from Taxi 2 went wrong. The French Authorities gave Julienne a one-year suspended jail sentence and €13,000 fine amid allegations of "safety compromises." Though he claimed that the film’s producers rejected his demand for the stunt to be tested before shooting. The Paris Court of Appeal later overturned the verdict, but the stuntman spent six months in jail.