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The Stunt Men and Women



(Courtesy of Les Adams)


The photo above is from Buck Jones' OUTLAWED GUNS (1935), and is on the first page of the Stunt Men and Women section.  A blowup of the face of the rider on the left reveals it to be Cliff Lyons. The rider on the right is Jim Corey.


Cliff 'Tex' Lyons

Real name: Clifford William Lyons

1901 - 1974


Special thanks to Deborah Duffy for the biographical update on Cliff Lyons, one of the premier stuntmen of the western and serial, and later a stunt director/coordinator on a variety of A grade films.  Deborah was married to Cliff Lyon's son Cliff.

September, 2011: Deborah - your old e-mail address is no longer working. Please shoot an e-mail to the Old Corral webmaster.


Clifford William Lyons, the oldest son of Mena and Garrett Lyons, was born July 4, 1901 in Lake county, South Dakota. He lived on a farm and attended the Clarno Rural School. He accompanied his parents to Tennessee where he attended business school in Memphis. In 1920, his parents moved back to a farm near Agar, South Dakota. Clifford joined them there. His father died in 1921. A little after that, Clifford formed a rodeo troupe with friends. In 1922 he moved to California.

He began his movie career as an actor (Cliff 'Tex' Lyons) in silent cowboy films like THE SADDLE KING. He was in the original BEN HUR (1927) and stunted in the original BEAU GESTE (1927). When talkies began, he changed careers and became one of the first and most famous stuntmen in Hollywood history.

In the 1930s, he was the frequent stand in/double for Buck Jones, Bob Baker, Johnny Mack Brown and Ken Maynard.  Lyons also doubled Tom Mix in Mascot's THE MIRACLE RIDER (1935) chapterplay.  In the 1940s, he was doubling Maynard in Monogram's Trail Blazers series.

In 1948 he began a relationship with John Ford and his longtime friend John Wayne that lasted through 15 films, the first being FORT APACHE (1948), followed by THE WAGONMASTER (1950), THE ALAMO (1960), THE TRAIN ROBBERS (1973), more. In many of the Wayne and Ford films, Lyons wound up doing stunts as well as stunt coordinator/second unit director duties.

He also worked in a variety of other films such as BEN HUR (with Charlton Heston), THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON, LONG SHIPS, and MIGHTY JOE YOUNG.

Cliff married B-western movie heroine Beth Marion in Los Angeles on November 9, 1938. They had two children: Clifford Russell Lyons, born July 28, 1942 and Garrett Lloyd Lyons, born January 6, 1945. Cliff and Beth divorced in the mid 1950s.

Cliff Lyons passed away on January 6, 1974 at the Queen of Angels Hospital, Los Angeles, CA.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Cliff Lyons: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0529036/

Neil Summers has a writeup on Cliff Lyons at Boyd Magers' Western Clippings website: http://www.westernclippings.com/stuntmen/clifflyons_stuntmen.shtml




(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from Left to right are Bud Osborne, Cliff Lyons, Bob Custer and Tom/Tommy Bay in a scene from the silent CODE OF THE WEST (Syndicate, 1929) which starred Custer.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above, Lyons doubling for Bob Baker in a crop from a lobby card from PRAIRIE JUSTICE (Universal, 1938).



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Transferring to the rear of the stage is probably stuntman Cliff Lyons doubling for Johnny Mack Brown in a scene from Brown's first series oater at Universal, DESPERATE TRAILS (Universal, 1939).



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above - Lyons doubling for Johnny Mack Brown in this crop from a lobby card from DESPERATE TRAILS (Universal, 1939).



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Lyons rides a buckboard over a cliff into the water below in an unidentified movie.




(Courtesy of Deborah Duffy)

At full gallop, Lyons is gettin' ready to pick up the heroine in an unidentified film.




(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above left is stuntman Cliff Lyons (doubling for star Ken Maynard) in a crop from a lobby card from HARMONY TRAIL (Mattox, 1944; re-released in 1947 by Astor as WHITE STALLION). On the right is Rocky Camron.



(Courtesy of Deborah Duffy)

Above, Lyons in the white suit with John Wayne and Susan Hayward (on horseback) in a production still from THE CONQUERER (RKO, 1956). Howard Hughes was the producer, the director was Dick Powell, and Lyons was the second unit director in charge of stunts and action sequences. Wayne portrayed Genghis Khan.



(Courtesy of Deborah Duffy)

Above - a note from John Wayne to Cliff Lyons for his work on THE CONQUERER (RKO, 1956).



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