Martin Grace: Roger Moore's stunt double in the James Bond films

Performing as Roger Moore's stunt double in the James Bond films brought Martin Grace respect throughout the industry – but, because of the nature of his job, he was never a "star". He also did stunts for some of the early Cadbury's Milk Tray commercials.

Grace first stood in for Moore in the 1977 picture The Spy Who Loved Me, driving a Lotus Esprit through the winding streets of Sardinia in a furious chase – with the express instruction that the car had to be returned to its manufacturer intact. He followed this with Bond's fight with the steel-jawed henchman Jaws on top of a cablecar 1,300 feet above ground in Rio de Janeiro in Moonraker (1979). The action continued in the air in For Your Eyes Only (1981), with Grace hanging on to the outside of a remote-controlled helicopter for the pre-title sequence. Later, in Moore's final Bond film, A View to a Kill (1985), the stunt performer did more aerial acrobatics, on the Eiffel Tower and San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.

But during Octopussy (1983) a complicated stunt involving a train and a car went horribly wrong while shooting on the Nene Valley railway. A helicopter was to shoot the action from the air, but communication was lost between Grace, the pilot, the train driver and the rest of the stunt team, and Grace smashed into a wall, fracturing his pelvis and damaging his thigh.

"The impact was so lightning fast that I only realised that I had hit something when I found I was hanging prone for dear life on the side of the train!" he recalled. "Adrenalin was pumping through my arms like never before. I looked down and saw my trouser leg had been ripped off and saw my thigh bone through the gash in my thigh muscle."

Born in Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1942, Grace attended Kilkenny College. He then moved to England, joined boxing, weight-lifting, wrestling and fencing clubs, and worked at Butlin's.

He then trained as an actor at the Mountview Theatre School, in London, and joined a stunt agency. His first jobs were in commercials, such as the Cadbury's Milk Tray campaign, in which he jumped from a bridge on to a train, was lifted from a sports car and dropped on a hotel roof and, finally, jumped from a cliff on to a moving truck, before diving into a lake to deliver the chocolates to a woman on a boat.

His first film was the television spin-off Dr Who and the Daleks (1965). Like many stunt performers, he was cast in a role that demanded his special skills, as he was in pictures such as Who Dares Wins (1982) and Curse of the Pink Panther (1983), and television programmes that included The Onedin Line (1972) and The Protectors (1973).

In You Only Live Twice (1967), starring the screen's original Bond, Sean Connery, Grace was one of a host of stunt performers taking part in the climactic volcano-eruption scene where Bond gives an elite ninja force access to the villain Blofeld's secret base. Grace underwent four weeks of intensive training – scaling nets, sliding down ropes and practising trampoline "explosions" – before the sequence was shot.

In 1969, he was Oliver Reed's fencing double in The Assassination Bureau. He fought with Anthony Hopkins in When Eight Bells Toll (1971), and did stunts with Kirk Douglas in To Catch a Spy (1971), after seven months out of action as a result of breaking his neck in Scrooge (1970).

Grace appeared in a show that toured Scandinavia in 1974 and starred the Norwegian stunt performer Arne Berg. The experience of doing six performances a week that required high falls, car crashes, motorcycle jumps, fights and tunnels of fire stood him in good stead when he was asked to double for Roger Moore in five Bond films. He also doubled for Richard Kiel, as the villain Jaws, in both The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979).

This also led Grace to become Moore's stunt double in some of the star's other films – The Wild Geese (1978), Escape to Athena (1979), North Sea Hijack (1979), The Sea Wolves (1980) and The Naked Face (1984). Also among the 70-plus films in which he did stunt work were Superman (1978), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Brazil (1985), King Arthur (2004), Ella Enchanted (2004) and The Number 23 (2007). He had extra responsibility, as stunt co-ordinator, on pictures such as High Spirits (1988), Erik the Viking (1989), Nuns on the Run (1990), Patriot Games (1992) and Angela's Ashes (1999).

In 1978, the Rank Organisation chose Grace to be its fifth famous gong-beater, but in the end his sequence was consigned to the cutting room floor. A keen cyclist, Grace fractured his pelvis in an accident last year. He returned to hospital after developing breathing problems at his home in Spain and died after suffering an aneurysm.

Anthony Hayward

Martin Ryan Grace, actor and stunt performer and co-ordinator: born Kilkenny, Ireland 12 September 1942; twice married; died Spain 27 January 2010.

Sport
footballLIVE City face Stoke, while Warnock returns to Palace dugout
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
Paul McCartney backs the
people
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone