Website last updated: 12-7-2024

Stunt expert Jon Auty remembers Dinny Powell (1932-2023)

By: Jon Auty
Dinny Powell, stuntman, Jon Auty
British stuntman and actor Dinny Powell, with ten James Bond films on his resume and a lot of work with both Sir Sean Connery and Sir Roger Moore, sadly passed away on 6th June 2023 at the age of 90.

Back in the early days of what we now call The British Stunt Register, there were a bunch of men who took on the worlds action in Film and on Television.

As young men, Dinny Powell and his brother Nosher Powell were very handy in the boxing ring. So good, that they had genuine chances at the big prizes including a champions belt.

The fight game gave them both a reputation as solid, quality opponents. Dinny and Nosher later discovered their talents as sparring partners for travelling international boxing names coming to the UK for a shot at a title. Henry Cooper was a regular as was Muhammed Ali.

As the Film and TV business started to flourish in the late fifties and early sixties Dinny and Nosher found themselves in demand. The Powell family are from solid stock. Both Nosher and Dinny are imposing characters and were often cast as heavies in TV series like The Avengers, The Saint and Danger Man. These early performances gave them Equity union status and the doors were open for the future.

They also had the benefit of horsemanship on their side. Firstly, they were in westerns like You Can’t Win Em All with Tony Curtis and Charles Bronson, and then the world of jousting came calling. The thing with being a fine horseman who is a film and television stuntman, is you don’t have opportunity to use this ability all the time. When the film business is busy a stuntman will spend a great deal of time on one or more productions over a period of months or years, but when its slow you need to have something fall back on.

A jousting troupe was set up by fellow stuntman Max Diamond which employed the services of everyone who could ride. They not only got to create and perform great sword fights and fall off horses, but they also got to hang out with their mates. Tours of the US and Australia became not only a great adventure, but was also a sort of, promotional exercise for the UK stuntmen.

By this time Dinny was working on many different productions and was being singled out as an actor, or some note. Often when dialogue is optioned, you’ll find quite a few of the stuntmen walking very slowly backwards not wishing to be ‘that guy’. Dinny was more than happy and subsequently got himself reoccurring roles in shows. Many will remember him as the guy in Superman II, who is thrown through the wall by General Zod after he threatened Ursa. The fall was filmed, very cleverly, on a vertical set, under the watchful eye of stunt coordinator Paul Weston.

Even more memorable was his appearance as a bodyguard in the movie Revenge of the Pink Panther. Director Blake Edwards has a scene where actors Robert Loggia, Tony Beckley, Peter Sellers and Dinny Powell are standing sizing each other up in a dialogue free moment. Edwards wanted something to happen in the lift that would change the intensity of the scene. He decided to say the word “now’. But him saying that was causing everybody to crack up with laughter. He decided to replace the word with a noise. A raspberry was blown which just made things worse. Regarded by many as the funniest outtake ever captured on film, its had millions of views the world over, and ever since that moment of filming back in 1978 it continues to cause uproars of laughter.

The famous fart scene in Revenge of The Pink Panther with outtake:

With over 135 credits to his name Dinny was a remarkable man. His passing has brought out many wonderful memories from friends and colleagues. Through all these comments the one thing that is absolutely solid is his love of people. Always a happy guy who’s smile could melt the coldest of hearts.

“That is so very sad. My thoughts and condolences to all his family and friends. Such a wonderful character who enhanced the abilities of the stunt register. So lucky to have known this great man.” - Gillian Aldam

“A great loss to his family and all of us who have good fortune to have known and worked with him. He was a giant in our industry, both as stuntman and actor. For decades there wasn’t a tv series that he didn’t appear in, or film he add his powerful presence too. We will all have great memories of the fun times we spent in his company. It was an honour to have known you Sir. Rest well, Dinny.” - Paul Weston

“Such sad news. Dinny was a gentleman and a pleasure to be around. RIP” - Peter Pedrero

“That’s terribly sad news. Had some really good times with Dinny and some great stories. A lovely lovely man who I had the utmost respect for. My thoughts go out to Greg, Gary and all of Dinny’s family. RIP old friend.” - Steve Whyment

“So very sad news. Dinny was on the committee along with Nosher when I first joined the stunt register back in 1979. Worked with him many times over the years. A wonderful gentleman who will be missed by many. Condolences to all the Powell family.” - Terry Cade

“That’s such sad news. I loved Dinny and he’s cheeky laugh. Such a gentleman and stunt man. My love to the family. He will so be missed.” - Tina Maskell

“You would not want a better friend. RIP Dinny.” - Tony Smart

Other productions credits include: The Sweeney, North Sea Hijack starring Roger Moore, Victor Victoria, The Sons of Katie Elder, Casino Royale (1967), Monte Carlo Or Bust, Doctor Who, The Professionals, Brazil, Dempsey and Makepeace, The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), A View to a Kill (1985), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and First Knight. The two latter co-starring Sean Connery.

Peter Sellers, Joe Dunn, Greg Powell, Dinny Powell, Pink Panther
Peter Sellers, Joe Dunn, Greg Powell and Dinny Powell on the set of Revenge of The Pink Panther. Photo courtsey of Gary Powell. All rights reserved.

He is remembered by all who knew him and worked alongside him. Our thoughts are with his family members, in particular nephews Greg Powell and Gary Powell and great niece’s Tilly Zara and Talyn.

Obituary by Jon Auty. Copyright © 2023 From Sweden with Love. All rights reserved.



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