Sad news has come in for the horror community as James Winburn has reportedly passed away. The stuntman, who doubled for Michael Myers in John Carpenter’s Halloween, died on Saturday at the age of 86. His manager, Peter DeLorme, confirmed to TMZ that he died at an L.A. hospital after a short illness, though a specific cause of death wasn’t mentioned. It’s noted that the passing appears sudden as Winburn was still active in the horror convention scene, having met with fans in England’s For the Love of Horror con last month.
“We are extremely sad to learn of the passing of James Winburn,” the con shared on Facebook along with a photo of Winburn at the event. “James was an absolute pleasure to work and shared some amazing stories with everyone over the weekend. Our sincere condolences go out to his family, friends and fans.”
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As Winburn had been a favorite for horror fans in the convention scene as well, many are paying tribute after his death, sharing stories of their times meeting him at conventions along with photographs. It goes to show how much he was appreciated by fans of the genre as one of the first-ever performers that brought Michael Myers to life in the film that many say is the greatest slasher movie of all time.
James Winburn Played the “Boogeyman” in Halloween
Released in 1978 and directed by John Carpenter, Halloween had multiple performers under the mask playing Michael Myers at different points in the film. When the killer is unmasked in a closet, it’s Tony Moran who portrays Michael for that one specific scene. For the bulk of the film when Michael is masked and carrying out his killings, Nick Castle was often behind the mask. James Winburn had also worked as a stuntman on the film which meant performing certain scenes as Michael Myers. This notably includes the antagonist’s final scene in the film, in which Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) shoots Michael six times and causes him to fall off an upstairs balcony.
Winburn had also done stunt work for dozens of other movies, including other genre favorites like Popcorn, The Fog, and Once Bitten. His other stunt work includes titles like The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Ratboy, and The Waterfront. He also appeared in a handful of films, such as 2014’s Island of Witches, and was attached to an upcoming horror film called Meat. Winburn directed three films as well: 1988’s Evil Altar, 1991’s The Death Merchant, and 1993’s Miami Beach Cops.
Rest in peace, James Winburn.