Class of 2018
Gary Davis is a longtime motorcycle stunt rider who did all of the stunt riding for the legendary Evel Knievel in the 1977 film “Viva Knievel!”
The 66-year-old Davis from Auburn, Calif., has worked more than 30 years in show business, performing, coordinating and directing stunts in more than 280 films, more than 250 TV episodes and more than 190 commercials.
Some of his more notable credits include “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “The Amazing Spiderman,” “Against All Odds,” “Terminator 2,” “Independence Day” and “Spiderman 2.”
Davis’ motorcycle career began as an AMA professional in 1969, riding alongside notables such as future AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers Kenny Roberts and Gary Scott.
He would showoff between races, and that got him noticed.
“I was still doing wheelies at halftime of these races,” he said. “One time, a guy came up to me and asked me if I would like to ride like that for money. I was hesitant. But he pulled out a wad of cash and said he could keep me busy every weekend. I was a starving college student, so I said, ‘OK.’”
Davis began exhibition motorcycle jumping in 1971, setting aside his racing career.
In 1972, he entered the Guinness World Records for clearing 21 cars, bettering Evel Knievel’s 19-car mark.
He was approached by the CBS television network, actor Sam Elliott and showman Evel Knievel for a filmed stunt. It went well, and after more than 300 public jumps, Davis gave up exhibitions in 1973 and began doing stunt work full time.
Nowadays, Davis stays involved in the business, directing and coordinating stunts and advising on scripts.
“There aren’t many motorcycles in the movie business, so I have done stunts in a variety of vehicles,” he said. “Lots of the kids in the business now are people I helped get started.”