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Old 04-24-2020, 12:16 PM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
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Steve Singer posted this on Facebook:

Bill Raymond put this nice bio together for the Broward Maritime Museum display about John.

Movie Double, Stunt Diver, Cinematographer

Big John was born in Charleston, SC on January 27, 1927. At a young age he knew he wanted to be a Navy diver. World War II broke out and he joined the U.S. Navy, serving as a machinist. After the war, John became an oil rig diver in the Gulf in the ‘50s. He later joined the Divers Training Academy of Miami and became one of their top instructors, teaching hard hat diving, scuba, demolition, decompression, salvage and rebreathers. He met u/w stuntman Courtney Brown and Ivan Tors, producer of Sea Hunt, who gave him his name Big John, because there was already a John McLaughlin in the Screen Actors Guild. Big John taught Lloyd Bridges how to dive and doubled for him in underwater scenes. He also became the u/w double for Sean Connery in several of the 007 movies, and drove a jet ski in Thunderball between the twin hulls of the Tropic Rover, a 150-foot catamaran built in Ft Lauderdale in 1960.

As a civilian, Big John was asked from time to time to help the Navy on deep salvage dives, and made a test emergency swimming ascent from a depth of 300 feet for Capt. George F. Bond, developer of the theories of saturation diving, and dived as deep as 520 feet using neon as a mixed gas, for Dr. Bill Hamilton, foremost authority on mixed gas diving.
His passion for the underwater environment led him to join Marine Geologist Bill Raymond in bringing attention to the threat to coral reefs by ship anchors near Port Everglades. They went to the Port Commission, their congressman E. Clay Shaw and the Coast Guard to successfully initiate the creation of a formal, charted anchorage area off Port Everglades in 1989 to protect the local coral reefs.

His safe diving practices served him well; he never suffered the “bends.” He worked on 29 movies and 13 TV series.
FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi
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