Scoil Naomh Fiachra

Life and Career

Martin Grace: Life and Career

Martin Grace (1942-2010)

Martin Grace was born in rural north Kilkenny, Ireland on 12th September 1942. He attended primary school at Lisdowney N.S., where he was a promising young hurler. He attended second level school in Kilkenny City.

In the “Questions for Martin” section of this project you can read all about how he first became interested films, fitups and performers.

Martin left school in his teens and moved to London. You can read Martin’s own description of his first jobs in London and of how he found his way to the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.

After joining a stunt agency, he began his film work in advertising, where he featured as the mystery man in the Cadbury’s Milk Tray ads.

In 1967 he worked on his first James Bond film – “You Only Live Twice”. Martin went on to double for Roger Moore in “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977) and in all Roger Moore’s subsequent James Bond films.

In the 1970s, Martin toured the Scandinavian countries with nightly stunt show. He won a Charlton Heston talent contest in 1974 and this gave him the opportunity to go to Hollywood.

In our project Martin told us of some of his daring exploits in Hollywood, including stunts on the Golden Gate Bridge.

While filming a train stunt in the Bond movie “Octopussy” he suffered severe hip and leg injuries. However he recovered in time to take his place in the next Bond film.

In all Martin worked on over 70 films and many television programmes.

Some of Martin’s film credits as stuntman and stunt co-ordinator included:

  • “The Wild Geese” (1978),
  • “Superman” (1978),
  • “North Sea Hijack” (1979),
  • “Escape To Athena” (1979),
  • “Sea Wolves” (1980),
  • “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981),
  • “The Naked Face” (1984),
  • “Robin Hood” (1991),
  • “The Truman Show” (1998).

He was a regular visitor to his home place of Lisdowney. He loved to keep in touch with old friends and none more so than with his former teacher, Larry Hamilton, whom he credited with awakening his interest in the outside world and in sport.

Martin loved music sessions and he loved meeting and chatting with people. In recent years he maintained a high level of fitness through cycling. On his visits to Lisdowney he would often set off on his bicycle and clock up over 60 miles.

Sadly, it was while cycling near his home in Spain in November 2009 that he suffered a serious accident which resulted in a fractured pelvis and a spell in hospital.

He died on January 27th, 2010, having suffered an aneurism.

Martin’s funeral Mass was celebrated in St. Brigid’s Church, Lisdowney on February 19th and he is buried in St. Lachtain’s Cemetery, Freshford.

His colleague and friend, Roger Moore, said that Martin was the bravest man he ever knew.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

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