by Ben Jones (Cooter)
Al Wyatt, Jr. passed away a couple of weeks ago in California.To everyone who knew him he was “Junior” or “Big Al”. Junior had a big appetite for life and a big passion for his work. He was one of the toughest and most courageous of stuntmen, a profession where toughness and courage is a job requirement. Junior was with the “Dukes” from the beginning. If I’ve said it once,I’ve said it a thousand times: “Without the stunt guys, the Dukes of Hazzard wouldn’t have lasted a month.” There is a famous photo of the “General” flying high over a moving freight train. If you look real close you’ll see Junior at the wheel and it looks to me like he is smiling. That was one of those world-record jumps that our stunt guys did routinely, risking their lives to make us look good.Many “Dukes” fans met Junior at our events, and went away like every body else who met him did, thinking “What a great guy!”Yep, Junior was a big man. But the biggest thing about him was his heart. Say a prayer for Susan and the family. We’ve lost a good one.Here’s an obituary from Junior’s home paper out on the beach at Malibu:
Allan Riley Wyatt Jr
Published: Malibu Times
Wednesday, February 8, 2012 1:33 PM PST
Allan Riley Wyatt Jr. died Feb. 3 at the age of 59.
Wyatt was born on Oct. 24, 1952 and lived most of his life in Malibu, where he was known as “Big Al” and could always be found in his Hawaiian shirt and flip flops.
When he was 18 years old, Wyatt was drafted into the Baltimore Orioles organization where he played in the minor leagues for four years. He left baseball to pursue his career in stunt driving and doubling. Wyatt was perhaps best known for doubling for actor John Schneider on the television series “The Dukes of Hazzard.” He drove in more than 150 episodes, including one in which he set a world record by flying more than 230 feet in the “General Lee,” a record that still stands to this day.
Wyatt appeared in more than 30 feature films and 500 television episodes in total. He got his first taste of the stunt industry 52 years ago through watching his father, Allan Wyatt Sr., the co-founder of the Stunt-man’s Association.
“Allan was known for his quick wit, practical jokes and renowned comebacks,” Wyatt’s family wrote. “At 6’4″ this gentle giant was a friend and protector of children, animals and his countless dear friends and colleagues.”
Wyatt is survived by his wife Susan, stepsons Leland, Garrett and Terrance, his mother Vera, his sister and his dogs Joey and Maggie.
A memorial will take place on the beach. The time and place will be available on Wyatt’s Facebook page.