This fall guy from his hometown is a legendary Hollywood stuntman

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EVERETT – Bar fights are second nature to David Boushey. The same goes for the fire and the falling cliffs.

What’s up with this?

Boushey spent decades as a stuntman and fighter director.

He was in two Herald stories in the 1970s but has managed to dodge local paparazzi ever since.

Until now.

It was a voluntary subject. The point is, he called the newspaper to let us know he was here, living quietly in the suburb of Everett for 25 years with his wife, Kathleen.

“My neighbors are going to be surprised, because I don’t care much about what I’ve done in my life,” he said in an interview at his home.

Boushey, 79, grew up in Everett, moved to Seattle at age 15, and returned to Everett Community College.

While working at Chicken Delight at the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962, he played a small part in a French farce to earn extra money.

David Boushey led sword fighting actor Christopher Walken (right) early in his career in Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet” in Seattle.

It was his first time on stage. “I was holding a candelabra and I had a big white wig and the damn wig caught fire,” he said.

But that wasn’t when he decided to be a stuntman.

He worked at Boeing in Seattle after obtaining a double degree in Psychology / Parks and Recreation from Central Washington University in 1969.

A Boeing colleague who was in the theater made him start doing plays.

“There was no animal like the fight directors,” Boushey said. “I didn’t find out until I went to England.”

After two years with Boeing, he left for England to study theater. It was there that he learned the art of stage combat.

“All of a sudden I’m fighting more than I’m playing the part,” he said. “So I ended up being a fight choreographer with a little focus on acting. I was a real good fighter.

Upon his return, he was the director of combat for the Seattle Repertory Theater, including the sword battle in “Hamlet” with Christopher Walken, which had just debuted.

David Boushey's first theater review in The Everett Herald is part of his collection of articles spanning decades.  Boushey is a retired stuntman, combat director and member of the Hollywood Stunt Hall of Fame.  (Kevin Clark / The Messenger)

David Boushey’s first theater review in The Everett Herald is part of his collection of articles spanning decades. Boushey is a retired stuntman, combat director and member of the Hollywood Stunt Hall of Fame. (Kevin Clark / The Messenger)

A review of the Everett Herald show in 1974 stated that Boushey “choreographed every step, rustle and tumble so that no movement feels wrong or even hesitant. The duel is as real as you’ll ever see it.

The next stop for Boushey was the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

“This is where I acted with Jean Smart,” he said on Monday. “I saw her last night at the Emmy Awards for Best Actress for ‘Hacks’ TV Series. She is as beautiful as she has ever been.

The actress was also his student at the University of Washington’s Professional Actor Training Program, among the many places he taught his craft.

He met Kathleen as a guest artist in 1984 for the University of Wisconsin production of “Macbeth”.

“She choreographs the dance. I choreographed the fights, ”he said. “I had a natural fondness for her because she was such an exceptional driver and dancer.”

They married in 1988 and have three children.

“He put me in the stunt business because of my movement and my ability,” said Kathleen. “You have to be an actress for it to be believable. “

She was hit by cars and jumped off buildings.

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“He made me do crazy stunts,” she said.

You can learn some tamer moves from her at the Everett YMCA, where she teaches Forever Fit classes.

Boushey was inducted into the Hollywood Stunt Hall of Fame in 1992. This inspired him to create the Seattle International Stunt School to train other people.

The school, now run by Boushey’s alumnus Jeff McKracken, offers a month-long summer program with classes in Seattle and Everett.

“He brought a multitude of talent to the industry with his fighting style and particular bent,” said McKracken, 48, of Burien, who spends the rest of the year as a stuntman.

“Everyone makes a good impression on Dave who has known him over the years because he is such a distinctive character.”

Boushey founded the Society of American Fight Directors and the United Stuntmen’s Association.

His home office in Everett is lined with photos and awards.

He worked with filmmaker David Lynch on “Blue Velvet” and “Twin Peaks”.

David Boushey as a bowtie lawnmower in his childhood in Everett.

“You had to more or less read his mind when working with him,” he said. “He was different.”

Other credits include numerous TV shows, commercials and movies such as “Drugstore Cowboy”, “Mad Love” and his favorite, “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle”.

Boushey said he worked with Denzel Washington, William Hurt, Tommy Lee Jones, Dennis Hopper, Matt Dillon, Kiefer Sutherland, Annette Bening, William Hurt, Chris Cooper, Linda Evans, River Phoenix, Jobeth Williams, Danny Glover, Mary Tyler Moore, Brendan Fraser and Heather Graham.

Just to name a few.

Enough of this. What I wanted to know was: can he still fall from his chair and not hurt himself?

“Of course I could,” he said.

He hasn’t proven it.

The photo walls were proof of that.

“Falling from 40 feet or 50 feet is not much different than just falling from that chair once you’ve learned the technique,” ​​he said.

As tempting as it was, I didn’t ask him to jump off the roof.

Of course he could.

“Once you learn to fall on the parts of your body where you don’t touch your elbows, or your knees or your face or whatever,” he said.

Looks like skills everyone should have. Practice around the house.

“I fell off my hill here, it’s a pretty steep hill,” he said of his yard. “So it helps me when I do my gardening. ”

His latest project is a new book, “Lessons from the Maestro”.

Part practical guide, part autobiography.

Everett plays a key role.

“What fueled my career was the way I was brought up,” he writes. “It was a working class community where hard work was part of the growth.”

As a child, he had a paper Herald itinerary, picking strawberries and mowing lawns.

He wore a bow tie when pushing a mower. “Dressed for Success!” he explains under the photo in his book.

Boushey looks back on his life of falls, punches and fights with pride.

“It was a great race,” he said.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

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