*(Via Commercial Appeal) — Willie Harris couldn’t have picked a better time to get shot.
On the other end of the .44 magnum stood Clint Eastwood, playing the ultimate cool role of a police detective in the 1971 movie “Dirty Harry.”
Aggravated that his lunch was interrupted by a bank robbery, Eastwood strolls across the street and takes out Harris with one click of the trigger. Still chewing his hot dog. Brushing off a few shotgun pellets to the leg as if they were lint.
And then he delivers the iconic line: “You have to ask yourself one question — Do I feel lucky? Well, do you, punk?”
“I haven’t found too many people who don’t remember that scene,” says Harris, 73, who grew up in the Holmes County (Mississippi) community of Howard. “When I tell them that was me falling down the steps, they wonder if I’m joking.”
He isn’t. Harris, who stands 6-foot-8 and spent a year playing basketball at Alcorn State, was one of the first black stuntmen in Hollywood.
“In the late 1960s, there was one black movie producer that we knew of — Gordon Parks,” Harris says. “There were no black people in wardrobe or makeup or operating cameras. I don’t like for it to come off as bragging. Young people will just say, ‘Aw, you’re full of it.’ But we changed Hollywood. We busted down the doors for a lot of black people in the movie industry.”
Harris is president of the Black Stuntmen’s Association, which was honored earlier this month by the Mississippi Legislature at the Capitol in Jackson. Only 14 of the 22 original members are still alive. Eight of those 14 made the trip.
Get the FULL story at Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Below, watch as Harris talks about his work in the 1971 classic film “Dirty Harry.”