One of the entertainment industry’s busiest stunt professionals, Buddy Joe Hooker began as a young child actor on the successful television series RIN TIN TIN. Under the stage name, Buddy Hart, his young acting career continued in shows such as GUNSMOKE, FATHER KNOWS BEST and TWILIGHT ZONE. Buddy Joe also starred in the award winning family feature that his stunt performer father, Hugh Hooker, produced called THE LITTLEST HOBO. That role led to a part on LEAVE IT TO BEAVER as one of Wally Cleaver’s best friends, Chester. He appeared in 12 episodes.
Although his father encouraged him to stay with acting, Buddy Joe knew that action was in his blood and pursued the stunt profession in such classic movies as Rock Hudson’s TOBRUK and Shirley MacLaine’s SWEET CHARITY. Throughout the years, his reputation as an all around stuntman led to his regular employment as Disney’s premiere stunt coordinator for 8 years.
Buddy Joe’s reputation as the go-to coordinator for car chases grew with movies such as TO LIE AND DIE IN L.A. and JADE. His extensive resume as a coordinator spans all genres and includes numerous classics: HAROLD AND MAUDE, THE OUTSIDERS, GODFATHER III, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, MEET JOE BLACK, and 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN. Among the long list of famed directors with whom Buddy Joe has worked are his Academy Award winning mentors — Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola. William Friedkin and Hal Ashby.
In the 1977 iconic film about the stunt business, HOOPER, Buddy Joe broke industry records with a rocket powered car jump and many other stunts doubling Jan Michael Vincent’s character Ski. As the stunt double for Sylvester Stallone on the renowned high fall through the trees off the cliff in FIRST BLOOD, Buddy Joe made history yet again.
His career continued with record-breaking stunts such as the first motorcycle jump over a helicopter as it landed and, then, rolling a truck 17 times down a sand embankment in the 1971 action feature CLAY PIGEON.
Today, Buddy Joe’s schedule remains busy as a stunt coordinator and 2nd unit director. With 8 different “cannonrolls” in recent years on features such as Quentin Tarantino’s DEATHPROOF as well as the Emmy award-winning television show DEXTER, Buddy Joe continues to perform the type of extreme car stunts that are defining moments in action sequences.
In recognition of his contribution to the film industry, the prestigious Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences inducted Buddy Joe into its exclusive membership during very first year it began a limited initiation of motion picture stunt coordinators. An original member of the elite organization of stuntmen, STUNTS UNLIMITED, Buddy Joe has served 5 terms as President. In his rare moments of downtime, Buddy Joe enjoys spending time in his art studio creating unique pieces of artwork in all mediums including oil paints, watercolors, mixed media, pencils, ink and fabrications.
A devoted family man, Buddy Joe Hooker enjoys working alongside his wife, Gayle, a fellow stunt-performer, and is most proud of his twin sons, Houston and Kanan Hooker, who began their own prolific career as stuntmen at 6 years old on the film SPY KIDS and now attend Chapman University Dodge College of Film in California.