After all that fun we had in the last post about Steven Seagal’s bulletproof kimono, it’s now my duty to totally harsh your mellow with a reminder that life is terribly short and probably meaningless. Have fun on those TPS reports. Anyway, David R. Ellis, a stuntman-turned director responsible for Snakes on a Plane and Shark Night 3D, who also did stunts on Smokey and the Bandit and Scarface, who every movie writer seems to have had a pleasant encounter or two with, was found dead in his Johannesburg hotel yesterday at the age of 60. He leaves behind a wife, three children, and countless fake dead snakes.
The 60-year-old, a chameleon of the entertainment industry who worked as an actor and stuntman earlier in his career, was found dead in the bathroom of his hotel room in the upscale neighborhood of Sandton in Johannesburg.
Police said Tuesday that the hotel manager discovered Ellis’ body at around 1 p.m. Monday. Ellis, 60, was last seen Saturday in a restaurant by a friend, reported the South African Press Association.
“Nothing was found to be missing from his room and no foul play is being suspected at this stage,” said Lt. Col. Lungelo Dlamini, a police spokesman, told the news agency.
In the years since its release, occasional discoveries of smuggled or concealed snakes in airports or aboard airplanes around the world invariably draw comparisons to Ellis’ thriller. Fortunately for the frequent flyer, such occurrences are rare.
Yes, thanks for that fact, NY Daily News. Very important.
In 2006, Ellis mused on whether the stuck-with-snakes theme would work in other movies while talking to Brian Finkelstein, whose “Snakes on a Blog” blog helped publicize the movie.
“`Titanic’ would be good with a ton of snakes, and at the same time, the boat’s going down. That would be kind of cool,” Ellis said. “Or `Cannonball Run,’ with snakes in every car. Or, you know, there’s a lot you could do. `Top Gun’ with snakes in their planes.”
Basically, he seemed like a good dude with a great sense of humor. Between him and Huell Howser, this has been a terrible, tragic week for beloved, cult media personalities. And with Ellis gone, who’s going to direct my script for The Black Shark Knight 3D? Martin Lawrence plays a regular guy who travels back in time and becomes a knight who fights sharks. We miss you already, David Ellis.