The James Bond films are famous for many daring stunts and when it comes to skydiving, B.J. Worth has given the popular film series some quite unforgettable moments. For his continuing dedication to the sport, Worth will be awarded the United States Parachute Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Who didn’t enjoy the fantastic jump from the Eiffel Tower in ‘A View To A Kill’ (1985) or the parachute chase between Bond and Jaws in ‘Moonraker’ (1979)? Where most films employ trick shots today, these stunts were done for real back in the day.
Born in 1952, B.J. (the abbreviation for Bruce Jeffrey) Worth became interested in skydiving at the age of 12 while attending a skydiving show put on by the Army’s Golden Knights Parachute Team. The machine was really set in motion when the aspiring youngster began practicing parachute landings by leaping off the roof of his family’s one-story house.
Worth attended the University of Montana college since skydiving was listed as an extracurricular activity. After his graduation in 1973, he headed to Casa Grande in Arizona which had long been the mecca of skydiving. Supporting himself as an instructor and parachute rigger, Worth, in less than a year, earned a spot on the team that won the national and world championships in 1974.
After marking up his second world title in aerobatics in 1977 (he has since won two more), Worth was approached by movie producer Michael G. Wilson about coordinating the free-fall sequence of ‘Moonraker’, the Bond film then beginning production. Eighty jumps later from 12,500 feet, the 90-second free-fall chase between Bond and the villain was done.
It was such a hit that Worth and his cameraman were signed on to coordinate the aerial stunts for all future Bond movies. After working on ‘Octopussy’ (1983) as aerial stunt double for actor Kabir Bedi, Worth dreamed up the jump from Paris’s Eiffel Tower in ‘A View to a Kill’, and for a fee of $30,000 agreed to perform the dangerous stunt. Doubling for Grace Jones, he launched himself with a running start from a tiny platform on the observation deck 900 feet from the ground while three high-speed cameras rolled to shoot the scene in slow motion. After a three-second free-fall, Worth pulled his rip cord and floated down to within six feet of his wife, Bobbie and their daughter Sara.
Worth continued working on ‘The Living Daylights’ (1987) and ‘Licence To Kill’ (1989) for which the aerial stunts were filmed over the Everglades. James Bond dangles perilously from a pursuit helicopter to lasso the tail of a drug smugglers fleeing Cessna. Worth and Timothy Dalton stunt double Jake Lombard were hanging out 30 feet below a helicopter flying 80 mph at 500 feet, trusting their lives to a 3/8-inch-thick steel cable.
With his work on ‘GoldenEye’ (1995) and ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ (1997), B.J. Worth has accumulated 7 credits in the James Bond film franchise and has since set many world records and demonstration jumps in front of millions. For his continuing dedication he will be honored at the Parachute Industry Association Meeting in Tennessee next week.
Source (in part): People Magazine