Ryan Dunn: Comedian and stuntman who became a mainstay of the 'Jackass' team

Ryan Dunn was one of the original member of the Jackass crew that became a global phenomenon with their perilous stunts and vulgar gags.

He died when his car went off a road and crashed in woods in West Goshen Township, not far from Philadelphia. Dunn, who had 23 driving convictions, including 10 for speeding, had more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his bloodstream.

Ryan Matthew Dunn was born in the small town of Medina, Ohio, in 1977. He grew up in Williamsville, New York, before moving with his parents to West Chester, Philadelphia in an attempt to clean up a developing drug habit. At the age of 15, on his firstday at high school, he met Bam Margera, who became a life-long friend and collaborator.

In the 1990s, Dunn, already a keen skateboarder, and Margera, a professional boarder, joined two friends and launched a career of reckless behaviour when they began filming underground skateboard and stunt videos. Under the name "CKY," short for "Camp Kill Yourself," the videos achieved local popularity and the CKY crew sold its first video on the underground skate marketing scene. Dunn was working as a welder and at gas stations when one such video caught the eye of Johnny Knoxville, a like-minded prankster and friend of Margera. Knoxville, who became the Jackass frontman, asked to include CKY clips on Jackass, which had its premiere on MTV in 2000 and ran until 2002. The series quickly gained a huge following and turned the hell-raisers into celebrities.

Throughout the show's MTV run, Dunn often served as the apparent voice of reason, questioning the sanity of his co-stars in their frequent attempts to outdo each other with danger-filled antics. However, when it came to fast cars, there was no stopping him, they said. Dunn had a reputation for bad driving; he once flipped a car eight times into oncoming traffic with Margera inside.

Dunn gained admiration from his Jackass co-stars and fans early on when he dived into a tank of raw sewage wearing flippers, a mask and a snorkel. It was soon dubbed "the poo dive". Perhaps Dunn's most famous or notorious stunt, depending on your disposition, was the coda to Jackass: The Movie. He inserted a toy car into his rectum then hobbled to accident and emergency, where he told doctors that he had a mysterious pain in his tailbone after passing out at a fraternity party. The resultant X-ray image became a popular T-shirt with Jackass fans. Dunn wrote later, "Even though it hurt like hell, I said that if I committed myself to this insanity I may as well see it through".

Jackass: The Movie (2002) was filmed on a budget of $5m, going on to make more than $64m in the US with a further $15m worldwide. In 2006, Jackass Number Two earned more than $85m worldwide against a budget of $11.5m. The most recent instalment, released in 3D in 2010, brought in $50m on its opening weekend.

In between films, Dunn also appeared in spin-offs like the reality television series Viva la Bam (2003-05) starring Margera, and hosted his own MTV show, Homewrecker (2005), a malicious take on home renovation shows. His most recent film, a low-budget comedy, Living Will, in which he played a ghost called Belch who returns to haunt his best friend, was put on hold by Lionsgate following Dunn's death.

The trailer, which opens with the quote, "Call no man happy till he is dead," shows a jovial Dunn sporting a full beard and playing practical jokes on his unsuspecting friends. "Being dead is the best thing that ever happened to me. Ever," says Dunn's character during the three-minute clip.

Dunn died, along with his passenger Zachary Hartwell, a production assistant on Jackass Number Two, when his Porsche, which was believed to have been travelling between 132-140mph, struck a guard rail and plunged into a wooded ravine before hitting a tree and bursting into flames.

Ryan Matthew Dunn, comedian and stuntman: born Medina, Ohio 11 June 1977; died West Chester, Pennsylvania 20 June 2011.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test