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Terry Richards

Stuntman.

Born: November 2, 1932; Died: June 14, 2014.

Terry Richards, who has died aged 81, featured in one of the most celebrated film scenes of the 1980s. Lego even produced a toy version of his character - even though he had no name, no dialogue and was on screen for only about ten seconds.

The English-born stuntman played the black-robed swordsman against whom Indiana Jones comes face to face as he dashes through the streets of Cairo in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Richards' character chuckles as he juggles his scimitar from hand to hand, anticipating an easy kill. But Indy simply takes out his pistol and shoots him.

It was a radical break from movie hero convention and very funny in its complete unexpectedness. It was rated among the best cinema scenes ever by Playboy magazine, but the sequence only ended up the way it did because Harrison Ford was having tummy trouble.

Richards spent weeks choreographing an elaborate confrontation between his character, armed with a sword, and Indy, with his trademark whip. Steven Spielberg began shooting the scene as scripted, but Ford needed to dash off to the loo every few minutes.

"I was supposed to do a big fight with him," Richards later recalled, "but he was ill, and they decided 'just shoot him', and that's how it came about."

Richards was one of the industry's top stuntmen, he appeared in hundreds of films and television programmes and he also fought James Bond, Luke Skywalker and Rambo.

Born David Terence Richards in London in 1932, he got into the film business by chance after doing national service in the Welsh Guards and working as a scaffolder. Through a friend he heard of a film company looking for extras and that led to stunt work. He had no formal training, but was big and fit and soon found himself in demand for fight scenes.

Richards worked on the early Bond films in the 1960s with Sean Connery and was still working on the series in the 1990s with Pierce Brosnan. One of his final films was Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), in which he played one of Jonathan Pryce's men.

His other films included The Vikings (1958), the classic war films Zulu (1964), The Dirty Dozen (1967) and Where Eagles Dare (1968), Flash Gordon (1980), The Princess Bride (1987) and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991).

He continued getting inquiries about his availability for film work until recently. He told one interviewer: "Somebody phoned me up the other day and said 'Are you still working, Terry?' And I said 'Not really, I'm 80 years of age - I can fall down alright, but I can't get up.'"

He is survived by two children.

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