Snakes on a Plane director and former stuntman David R. Ellis died of undetermined causes in Johannesburg, South Africa on Monday at the age of 60.
Although no cause of death has been released, early reports indicate that David R. Ellis, who directed Snakes on a Plane, Final Destination 2, Cellular and more, died while filming his latest film Kite in Johannesberg.
After starting out in Hollywood as a child star in The Strongest Man in the World with Kurt Russell before acting in the 1970s series Wonder Woman with Linda Carter, David R. Ellis went on to become one of Hollywood’s most successful stuntmen. The stunt work of Ellis includes such memorable films as Smokey and the Bandit, Bruce Lee’s Game of Death, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Scarface, Lethal Weapon, and Fatal Attraction to name a few.
Following his stunt career, Ellis became a highly successful 2nd Unit director crafting the action of such films as Patriot Games, Clear & Present Danger, Waterworld, The Perfect Storm, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and The Matrix Reloaded.
As a director, David R. Ellis made a name for himself as a go-to helmer of horror and thriller films after directing Final Destination 2, Cellular, Snakes on a Plane, Asylum, The Final Destination, and Shark Night 3D.
At the time of his death, David R. Ellis has three films as 2nd Unit director yet to be released in 2013, Winter’s Tale, 47 Ronin, and R.I.P.D..
David R. Ellis was 60-years old and leaves behind an impressive list as an actor, stuntman, 2nd Unit director, and director.
As a side note, I had the great fortune of meeting David Ellis on the set of Final Destination 2. You couldn’t meet a nicer, more approachable and giving man.