William "Bill" Hickman
(25 January 1921 – 24 February 1986) was a stunt driver/actor from the 1950s through to the late 1970s. Hickman played a major role in terms of development and execution in three of the greatest movie car chase sequences of all time.
Early career and James Dean
Bill Hickman spent most of his career as a stunt driver, and was involved in the now legendary car chase scenes from Bullitt
, The French Connection
and The Seven-Ups
, all shot on actual city streets. Bill spent some of his earlier days as driver and friend to James Dean
, driving Dean's Ford station wagon towing his famed 550 spyder nicknamed “Little Bastard”, and often helping and advising him with his driving technique, he was driving the Ford station wagon and trailer following Dean on the day of his fatal accident and was first on the scene. Hickman was an extra in Dean's 1951 feature movie debut Fixed Bayonets!
A rare personal quote from Bill on his friendship with Dean: "In those final days, racing was what he cared about most. I had been teaching him things like how to put a car in a four-wheel drift, but he had plenty of skill of his own. If he had lived he might have become a champion driver. We had a running joke, I'd call him Little Bastard and he'd call me Big Bastard. I never stop thinking of those memories." In another interview with James Dean expert Warren Beath, Hickman is quoted as saying "We were about two or three minutes behind him. I pulled... Read More