Dar Robinson spent the 1970s earning a reputation as one of Hollywood’s greatest stuntmen. He did stunts in Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood films: jumping out of helicopters onto airbags, driving over cliffs and then parachuting to safety, leaping from tall buildings. He set world records all over the place. But the most famous thing he ever did was to jump off the CN Tower.
He did it twice. The first time was with a parachute in 1979. He was Christopher Plummer’s stunt double in a movie called Highpoint — a comedy in which his character steal millions of dollars from the CIA and the Mafia before eventually plummeting from the tower. Robinson repeated the stunt in 1980 as part of a documentary being made about his career (hosted by Chuck Norris, thank you very much). This time, as he fell from a height of about 350 meters, there was no parachute: he was attached to a cable system that he invented himself. And, unlike the bag of water they tested it with, he didn’t get smashed to a pulp.
In fact, he’d go another six years before getting smashed to a pulp. He even got to be in Lethal Weapon first. But then he got a job doing a motorcycle stunt for Million Dollar Mystery (a movie that was actually just a bizarre promotion for a garbage bag company, nominated for three worst supporting actors and a worst original song at the Razzies). During filming, Robinson missed a turn on his motorcycle and went flying off a cliff. Lethal Weapon is dedicated to his memory.
You can watch him make the CN Tower jump in this excerpt from the documentary The Ultimate Stuntman, which was posted to YouTube by Retrontario. It’s pretty crazy:
Cross-posted from The Toronto Dreams Project Historical Ephemera Blog.