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A. J. Bakunas

A.J. Bakunas

Albert John Bakunas, Jr, a.k.a. A.J. Bakunas (October 23, 1950 – September 22, 1978)[1] was a stunt performer who died doubling for George Kennedy in a fall from the Kincaid Towers in Lexington, Kentucky for the film Steel (1979).

Born in Fort Lee, New Jersey, Bakunas quit his job as a gym teacher at Tenafly (N.J.) High School in 1974 and set out to break into the film industry.[citation needed] He did his first stuntwork for the 1975 film Dog Day Afternoon. Bakunas became known for expertly performing falls from great heights.[2]

Bakunas had set a world record for a 70,1 m (230 ft) fall from a helicopter for the film Hooper (1978), which was broken by Dar Robinson's 87,2 m (286 ft) fall for a non-movie related publicity stunt.

Bakunas, determined to retake the record, returned to Lexington to perform a 96 m (315 ft) jump from the 22nd floor of a construction site, where he had previously successfully fallen nine stories. On September 21, 1978, as his father and a crowd of about 1,000 watched, Bakunas performed the fall, reaching an estimated speed of 115 miles per hour (185 km/h). However, the airbag split on impact, and Bakunas died of his injuries the next day.[3]


  1. ^ "Albert John Bacunas, Jr". Find a Grave. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ "A.J. Bakunas". IMDB. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  3. ^ "323-Foot Leap Kills Stuntman". Kentucky New Era. September 22, 1978. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  • Lexington Leader, September 21, 1978

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