Rick McCallum

You’ve probably seen Rick McCallum ’77 on your television or movie screen without knowing you were looking at a Lewis alumnus. Even if you knew him, you may not recognize him thanks to the transformation he undergoes to play his roles. As a stuntman, he is often made to look like someone else.

Shortly after his graduation from Lewis University, McCallum moved to California to build his career in Hollywood as a stunt man – and from his impressive resume, he has unquestionably succeeded. Now a stuntman, stunt coordinator, actor, and writer, McCallum has worked on over 70 movies during his career, with more on the horizon.

“I always wanted to do stunts,” says McCallum. “My roommate Jerry Clemens ’77 and I were known for pushing the envelope, performing our own stunts around campus. I graduated with a degree in criminal justice, interviewed for jobs, and thought about the future. I realized that by being a stunt man, I could have fake bullets aimed at me as opposed to the real ones I’d face in criminal justice. Then I headed out to California.”
In 1981, McCallum found himself acting in his first film: a Chuck Norris movie, Lone Wolf McQuade. His role for his first production? Getting beat up.

“Most stunt jobs are known as ND – non-descript. You don’t have lines, but basically play a character whose job it is to get beat up,” McCallum laughs.

While many of his roles are in horror movies like Hatchet (2006) and The Devil's Rejects (2005), he has also worked on productions including J. Edgar (2011), Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994), and Baywatch Nights (1997). If you’re an avid fan of one of the most-watched shows on television currently, The Walking Dead on AMC, you’ve probably seen the online Cold Storage webisodes. McCallum served as stunt coordinator alongside writer and director Greg Nicotero.

The list of actors and actresses he’s worked with is long and includes Clint Eastwood, David Hasselhoff, the Baldwin brothers, Hank Azaria, Blythe Danner, and Angie Harmon. He’s also been cast as the stunt double for many stars, including Oliver Platt, Greg Evigan, Patrick Warburton, Barry Bostwick, and Sid Haig. One of his closest friends is Kane Hodder, who played Jason Voorhees in four of the Friday the 13th films.

“One of my favorite movies I’ve worked on was Hatchet 2. I was able to co-star in that one, and I have one of the most ultimate demises in the history of horror movies,” McCallum says. “Or so I’ve been told. You get to travel the country and the world in this business. You meet some really great people along the way. Chuck Norris and Clint Eastwood are two of the nicest guys you could ever meet. I never think of what I do as exciting until I talk to other people about it, then I realize that it is pretty interesting. I’ve had some great experiences and always look forward to the opportunities still ahead.”

When he’s not busy playing roles like a werewolf getting tossed into oil barrels at 25 miles per hour from the hood of a car or working on writing a movie, he devotes time to hunting ghosts.  After a frightening experience at his father’s home in Texas, McCallum became interested in the idea of the paranormal and it wasn’t long until he cofounded Hollywood Ghost Hunters with Hodder.

The group has ventured into many allegedly haunted and often abandoned establishments, searching for evidence of the paranormal. The group has also participated on a nationally-televised program, Ghost Adventures, as the groups united to research and explore the Pico House.
While he enjoys the warmth that California provides, he still holds a place in his heart for his alma mater.

“I really miss being at Lewis,” says McCallum. “I made a lot of good friends there that I still talk to today. I had the chance to catch up with a few recently when I came back to Chicago. I had some pretty good teachers, too, like Richard Prince. He taught a writing class and really helped me get into writing. Good times, good memories.”

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