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Landis Ruled Out Stunt Man for Fatal Scene, Makeup Man Says He Was Told

January 13, 1987

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A stuntman was ruled out in a ″Twilight Zone″ scene that killed actor Vic Morrow and two children because director John Landis insisted Morrow do it himself, a movie makeup man testified Tuesday.

Robert Westmoreland, whose testimony was severely limited by the judge in the manslaughter trial of Landis and four other filmmakers, was allowed to relate only one brief conversation he had with stunt coordinator Gary McLarty.

″Did you ask Gary McLarty if he was going to be the stunt double for Vic Morrow in the last scene with the helicopters and explosions?″ asked Deputy District Attorney Lea Purwin D’Agostino.

″Yes,″ said Westmoreland. ″He replied he was ready to do it but John (Landis) wanted Vic to do it.″

Mrs. D’Agostino asked if there was any mention of Morrow himself wanting to do the scene. The witness said there was not.

McLarty, who testified earlier, claimed that Morrow asked to do dangerous stunts himself and resisted efforts to portray him with a stunt double.

Morrow, 53, and child actors Myca Le, 7, and Renee Chen, 6, were killed when a helicopter, flying through special effects explosives, crashed on them during filming on July 23, 1982. Landis, associate producer George Folsey, production manager Dan Allingham, special effects coordinator Paul Stewart and pilot Dorcey Wingo are charged with involuntary manslaughter in the deaths.

During cross-examination, Landis’ attorney, James Sanders, attacked Westmoreland’s claim that the conversation with McLarty occurred three days before the accident while the film crew was shooting a scene on the movie’s European set.

The trial resumed Tuesday after a delay of several days because a juror’s relative died. Mrs. D’Agostino said she planned to begin the final phase of her case this week: the testimony of expert witnesses on technical flaws and human errors that led to the accident.

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