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After Quentin Tarantino & # 39; s ninth film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, was opened this week in theaters around the world, the incredible life of the man who inspired the character of Brad Pitt in the film is Hal Needham (left )

After Quentin Tarantino's ninth film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, opened Friday in theaters around the world, the incredible life of the man who inspired the character of Brad Pitt in the film has been recreated.

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So rarely when movies are based on real people, the true story is as fascinating as the series of events shown on the big screen, but when it comes to Hal Needham's life, there certainly seems to be an exception to the rule.

In Tarantino's latest venture, members of the public are introduced to Cliff Booth, a military veteran who becomes a stuntman and also best friends with Wild Western TV and film star Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

The two characters were strongly inspired by Needham & # 39; s relationship with Burt Reynolds, and the wild, decades-long friendship they shared during their tenure in Tinsel Town.

After Quentin Tarantino & # 39; s ninth film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, was opened this week in theaters around the world, the incredible life of the man who inspired the character of Brad Pitt in the film is Hal Needham (left )

Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

After Quentin Tarantino & # 39; s ninth film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, was opened this week in theaters around the world, the incredible life of the man who inspired the character of Brad Pitt in the film is Hal Needham (left )

In Tarantino's latest venture, audience members are introduced to Cliff Booth, a military veteran who becomes a stuntman and also best friends with Wild Western TV and film star Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio
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In Tarantino's latest venture, audience members are introduced to Cliff Booth, a military veteran who becomes a stuntman and also best friends with Wild Western TV and film star Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio

In Tarantino's latest venture, audience members are introduced to Cliff Booth, a military veteran who becomes a stuntman and also best friends with Wild Western TV and film star Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio

The two characters were strongly inspired by the relationship between Needham (left) and Burt Reynolds (center) and the wild, decades-long friendship they shared during their tenure in Tinsel Town

The two characters were strongly inspired by the relationship between Needham (left) and Burt Reynolds (center) and the wild, decades-long friendship they shared during their tenure in Tinsel Town

The two characters were strongly inspired by the relationship between Needham (left) and Burt Reynolds (center) and the wild, decades-long friendship they shared during their tenure in Tinsel Town

Needham stumbled into the world of stunt work completely by accident in the late 1950s, shortly after he returned from his military service where he had operated as a parachutist.

He worked as a gardener when one of his former colleagues told him that he dreamed of working in Hollywood and had secured the two jobs.

Although he had no experience with stunt work, Needham soon discovered a natural flair and an obsession with discipline – a fixation that would break 56 bones during his career, including his back twice.

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Reynolds and Needham put me on the set for the first time on the set of Riverboat in 1959, a television series of short duration that would later prove to be Reynold's breakout role.

The couple quickly bonded about their love of adrenaline, shared sense of dry humor and their distinctive and bold style.

Reynolds also performed his own stunts in true Dalton style.

"I was so stubborn. I didn't want a double stunt, & Reynolds recalled the introduction. "I said to him," Look, I don't want to take your talent away. I'm sure you're very good, but I do my own stunts. "He smiled and said," If you knew how many actors I brought to the hospital who said that to me. But I want to see you do this. & # 39;

"I said," OK, "and I did the stunt," Reynolds continued. "He said I was pretty good and asked me what else I could do. I said," All you can teach me. " : "Okay, come to my house."

Needham (pictured right on the set of In Harms Way, with Kirk Douglas, left, in 1965) stumbled into the world of stunt work completely by accident in the late 1950s, shortly after his departure from military service where he had operated as a parachutist
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Needham (pictured right on the set of In Harms Way, with Kirk Douglas, left, in 1965) stumbled into the world of stunt work completely by accident in the late 1950s, shortly after his departure from military service where he had operated as a parachutist

Needham (pictured right on the set of In Harms Way, with Kirk Douglas, left, in 1965) stumbled into the world of stunt work completely by accident in the late 1950s, shortly after his departure from military service where he had operated as a parachutist

From there, the couple remained friends for decades, with Reynolds telling the Hollywood Reporter in 2016 that they were just & # 39; two boys who thought the other was great and at the same time happy to just have a mirror. & # 39;

Needham even moved in with Reynolds when his wife drove him out of their house. Both men thought the arrangement would last about a week, but they stayed together for the next twelve years in the bachelor's platform of Reynolds & # 39; Holmby Hills.

Without living a rent, Needham was able to tackle his stuntman ambitions unhindered, which he managed to do in abundance – to be honored as one of the most fearless men in the industry.

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His career is littered with dizzying stunts that would otherwise simply not have been achieved long before the days of CGI.

In the 1970 Big Big movie, Needham filled in for Dustin Hoffman and jumped at full speed between the backs of two horses.

He also pulled an inscrutable performance on the television series "Have Gun, Will Travel!", Where he jumped from a 30-foot rock to a moving stage coach – without any filling.

"(The coach) looked really small. It looked like a stamp, & he said in an interview with NPR, reflecting on the stunt. "They brought the coach, and I hit him right in the middle. But I broke through the top to my armpits, and that shocked the people in the coach. & # 39;

Needham (right) even moved in with Reynolds (left) when his wife drove him out of their house. Both men thought the arrangement would last about a week, but they stayed together for the next twelve years in Reynolds & # 39; Holmby Hills bachelor trail (pictured along with Jim Harbos during the recording of Stroker Ace)

Needham (right) even moved in with Reynolds (left) when his wife drove him out of their house. Both men thought the arrangement would last about a week, but they stayed together for the next twelve years in Reynolds & # 39; Holmby Hills bachelor trail (pictured along with Jim Harbos during the recording of Stroker Ace)

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Needham (right) even moved in with Reynolds (left) when his wife drove him out of their house. Both men thought the arrangement would last about a week, but they stayed together for the next twelve years in Reynolds & # 39; Holmby Hills bachelor trail (pictured along with Jim Harbos during the recording of Stroker Ace)

His career is littered with dizzying stunts that would otherwise simply not have been achieved long before the days of CGI. Such a stunt saw him a 63-foot & # 39; jump & # 39; in a car from the coast to a moving ship on the set of White Lightning

His career is littered with dizzying stunts that would otherwise simply not have been achieved long before the days of CGI. Such a stunt saw him a 63-foot & # 39; jump & # 39; in a car from the coast to a moving ship on the set of White Lightning

His career is littered with dizzying stunts that would otherwise simply not have been achieved long before the days of CGI. Such a stunt saw him a 63-foot & # 39; jump & # 39; in a car from the coast to a moving ship on the set of White Lightning

A car powered by Needham flies hundreds of feet in the air on the set of Hopper, in 1978

A car powered by Needham flies hundreds of feet in the air on the set of Hopper, in 1978

A car powered by Needham flies hundreds of feet in the air on the set of Hopper, in 1978

As if it was not in a hurry to throw himself through the air, Needham increased the stakes and also added cars, boats and motorcycles to his extensive exploits.

In White Lightning – released in 1973 – he jumped his car 63 feet from a riverbank on a moving ferry. Three years later, the movie Gator sees the stuntman flying over a swamp on a boat, 30 meters in the air – a record-breaking performance.

On Hopper's set in 1978, Needham drove a car off a burning bridge, where the vehicle saw more than a hundred feet in the sky before it crashed safely on the other side of the river.

Aware that his body is not allowing him to continue doing more stunt work forever, Needham has devised a contingency plan in addition to his planned work and created his first ever scenario, Smokey and the Bandit.

The film was inspired by an incident that happened on the 1976 Gator set, in which someone stole Coors beer six-packs from a refrigerator to sell east of Oklahoma – where the brand was not available at the time – at a premium price.

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Without writing experience, Needham turned to his roommate Reynolds who, after the success of Deliverance and The Longest Yard, was now the biggest name in Hollywood.

"That's the worst dialogue I've ever read in my life," Reynolds said about the script at the time.

But with unwavering admiration and belief in Needham, Reynolds agreed to shine in the film, passing a number of potentially acclaimed roles and then passing several large pay slips.

Universal exposed the film based on the name of Reynolds on the bill. The cast eventually improvised most of their lines; the theme song of the film was written & # 39; by night.

Aware that his body is not allowing him to continue doing more stunt work forever, Needham has devised a contingency plan in addition to his planned work and has drawn up his first scenario ever, Smokey and the Bandit

Aware that his body is not allowing him to continue doing more stunt work forever, Needham has devised a contingency plan in addition to his planned work and has drawn up his first scenario ever, Smokey and the Bandit

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Aware that his body is not allowing him to continue doing more stunt work forever, Needham has devised a contingency plan in addition to his planned work and has drawn up his first scenario ever, Smokey and the Bandit

Universal exposed the film based on the name of Reynolds on the bill. The cast eventually improvised most of their lines; the theme song of the film was written & # 39; by night

Universal exposed the film based on the name of Reynolds on the bill. The cast eventually improvised most of their lines; the theme song of the film was written & # 39; by night

Universal exposed the film based on the name of Reynolds on the bill. The cast eventually improvised most of their lines; the theme song of the film was written & # 39; by night

In motion: Needham flies over the handlebars of a motorcycle that has just been driven into a car on the Hopper set

In motion: Needham flies over the handlebars of a motorcycle that has just been driven into a car on the Hopper set

In motion: Needham flies over the handlebars of a motorcycle that has just been driven into a car on the Hopper set

Reynolds and Needham put me on the set for the first time on the set of Riverboat in 1959, a television series of short duration that would later prove to be Reynold's breakout role. The couple quickly bonded about their love of adrenaline, shared sense of dry humor and their distinctive and bold style (shown on the set Cannonball Run, 1981)
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Reynolds and Needham put me on the set for the first time on the set of Riverboat in 1959, a television series of short duration that would later prove to be Reynold's breakout role. The couple quickly bonded about their love of adrenaline, shared sense of dry humor and their distinctive and bold style (shown on the set Cannonball Run, 1981)

Reynolds and Needham put me on the set for the first time on the set of Riverboat in 1959, a television series of short duration that would later prove to be Reynold's breakout role. The couple quickly bonded about their love of adrenaline, shared sense of dry humor and their distinctive and bold style (shown on the set Cannonball Run, 1981)

The pressure to take his vision from page to big screen never seemed to have phased the cool main character that Needham was.

With Hollywood known for its 18-hour shoot days, Needham refused to conform.

"Hal broke every day at five," Reynolds recalled in his memoir, Enough About Me. & # 39; And the cast and crew would be in the local bar at a quarter past five. & # 39;

Against all odds, Smokey and the Bandit was released in 1977, and the second highest profitable movie of the year, surpassed only by Star Wars.

A similar guess that was made six years later would be a bridge too far for Needham and Reynolds.

Out of loyalty to his best friend, Reynolds rejected a role in the later Oscar-winning classic Terms of Endearment that was specifically written with him in mind, but later given to Jack Nicholson.

Stroker Ace, on the other hand, was pledged on a large scale, with Reynolds later joking that it was & # 39; the type (movie) they show in prisons and planes because no one can leave. & # 39;

Despite missing what could have been an Oscar-winning role, the couple's relationship remained intact, with Reynolds expressing that he would have made the decision to again ignore the conditions of affection out of loyalty from his best friend.

Against all odds, Smokey and the Bandit was released in 1977, and the second highest profitable movie of the year, surpassed only by Star Wars

Against all odds, Smokey and the Bandit was released in 1977, and the second highest profitable movie of the year, surpassed only by Star Wars

Against all odds, Smokey and the Bandit was released in 1977, and the second highest profitable movie of the year, surpassed only by Star Wars

Burt Reynolds, as Bo Darville, and Sally Field, as Carrie, in & # 39; Smokey And The Bandit & # 39;

Burt Reynolds, as Bo Darville, and Sally Field, as Carrie, in & # 39; Smokey And The Bandit & # 39;

Burt Reynolds, as Bo Darville, and Sally Field, as Carrie, in & # 39; Smokey And The Bandit & # 39;

In 1981 the cohabitation of Reynolds and Needham came to an end. The stuntman subtly brought the news that he was getting married.

"Does this mean I'm losing a roommate or am getting a wife?" Reynolds replied.

Needham then married Dani Janssen in a ceremony with a western theme, where the groom and the best man Reynolds arrived at the service on horseback.

Reynolds said he had spoken to Needham for several weeks to parachute to the wedding.

After speaking with People magazine, Reynolds revealed: & # 39; Hal has done many dangerous things in his life, but I've never seen him so scared. & # 39;

Needham died in October 2013, just over a year after receiving a Governor's Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Reflecting on the death of his sidekick, Reynolds said, "When he passed, I thought, what the hell could kill him?"

"I was really happy that it was Burt and Hal, not just Burt or not just Hal," Reynolds said about their off-screen relationship. "I was happy that we were together. I thought he – and he was – the best stuntman who ever lived. & # 39;

Needham died in October 2013, just over a year after receiving a Governor's Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Needham died in October 2013, just over a year after receiving a Governor's Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Needham died in October 2013, just over a year after receiving a Governor's Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

"I was really happy that it was Burt and Hal, not just Burt or not just Hal," Reynolds said about their off-screen relationship. "I was happy that we were together. I thought he - and he was - the best stuntman who ever lived. & # 39;

"I was really happy that it was Burt and Hal, not just Burt or not just Hal," Reynolds said about their off-screen relationship. "I was happy that we were together. I thought he - and he was - the best stuntman who ever lived. & # 39;

"I was really happy that it was Burt and Hal, not just Burt or not just Hal," Reynolds said about their off-screen relationship. "I was happy that we were together. I thought he – and he was – the best stuntman who ever lived. & # 39;

In Reynolds' 2015 memoir, written two years after Needham's death, even more crazy antics of the stuntman were uncovered.

Reynolds revealed that Hal was not only the first to ever test airbags, but also & # 39; he decided to be the first to cross the sound barrier in a land vehicle & # 39; and closed a deal with Budweiser and CBS to build a rocket car.

& # 39; When he stepped into that thing, I knew he would get the record or blow it up. He achieved the record: 733,666 miles per hour. & # 39;

Although they are both known as personifying machismo, the two men were never afraid to publicly declare their admiration for each other.

"I always told him that if he had been a woman, we would have had a great marriage," Reynolds said. "He was a great man. They only live like this once in your life. & # 39;

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