Black Jack Young, Old West stunt double

When I asked one of my friends if he had any old photos hiding about, he went rummaging in his basement for this amazing promo photo of stunt double Black Jack Young.

jack young2

He received this photo as a gift from his sister-in-law a while back, well, because it’s awesome.  It’s even signed, stating ‘Best Regards to Jolene, Black Jack Young:’

 jack young2 sig

Nicknamed Black Jack after the black Jack of spades bolo tie he wore, Jack Norwood Young participated as a stunt double in over 100 ‘old west’ style TV shows and movies throughout the late 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s.  He acted as stunt double in movies with John Wayne, Ronald Regan, Jimmy Stewart, Ava Gardner, and even Marilyn Monroe. He was Clark Gable’s personal stunt double in 5 movies, and you can definitely see the resemblance in the above photo!

Born in 1926, in Fincastle Virginia, which is seriously just a hop, skip, and a jump from Roanoke (or if you’re being literal, a 25 minute drive), Jack ran away from home when he was 14.  He ended up in the Navy during World War II, working with underwater demolitions.  After the war, he made his way to Hollywood, but claiming not be the best of actors, he began doing stunt work.  Westerns became his niche, playing cowboys, sheriffs, jailbirds, and the like.  It wasn’t until his stunt work in the movie The Alamo in 1960 that he realized just how dangerous his job was: he was trampled after falling off his horse, resulting in a 17 day coma. 

He continued stunt work, but his stunt jobs began to dwindle after he saw a fellow stunt double’s leg ripped off in the iconic western ‘How the West was Won,’ in 1962. 

On the set of McClintock, in 1963, Young landed a job with Old Tucson, putting on gun shows for tourists, eventually moving up in ranks to include casting, production, and public relations.  He began his own movie firm in the early 1970s, and has been instrumental in bringing movie production to the Tucson area. 

Jack just celebrated his 88th birthday, and still lives in Tuscon, Arizona.  To see all of his stunt double achievements, visit his IMDB page, or watch an old western to catch a glimpse of Black Jack.

Further Reading:

 IMDb. ‘Jack N. Young.’ Internet Movie Database. 2013. Web. 24 September 2013

Hull, Tim. ‘The Cinematic Life of Black Jack Young.’ Tucson Weekly. 19
April 2001. Web. 24 September 2013

Margie the cowgirl. ‘Jack N. Young.’ The Rifleman. 10 February 2013. Web. 4 October 2013

Old Tucson. ‘Film History.’ Old Tucson. 2012. Web. 4 October 2013




Filed under 1950s, Photograph

2 responses to “Black Jack Young, Old West stunt double

  1. Zedwebb

    As a boy, I must have seen him in the cowboy shows I watched on Saturday morning TV (in black and white – no color in those days) or in the movies and never knew it. I remember the Alamo as the phrase goes, but it was the movie. It made me want to see the place in person, which I finally did nearly 50 years later.

  2. That was a fun post. I’ll have to pass it along to a friend who loves cowboys. 🙂

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