(September 12, 1942–January 27, 2010): Top Irish stunt coordinator who arranged the action sequences on A View to a Kill and who had doubled Roger Moore on the previous five James Bond movies, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, and Octopussy.
During the train stunts for Octopussy, Grace was involved in an accidental collision that resulted in a broken pelvis and eight months of recuperation. On A View to a Kill, Grace supervised more than a hundred British, French, Swiss, and American stuntmen. In the latter film, Grace coordinated the scene in which May Day (Grace Jones) jumps from the Eiffel Tower (accomplished by American stuntman B. J. Worth); the chaotic flooding and dynamiting of the Main Strike Mine, which includes the machine-gunning of its mine workers; and the amazing fight between Bond (Roger Moore) and Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) atop the Golden Gate Bridge, most of which was shot on a duplicated set at Pinewood Studios.
Grace described his first look at the real bridge: “Three people can fit in the elevator going up to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, and one of them was the elevator operator. So, I went up with Karen [Price], the double for Tanya Roberts. When we arrived at the top—this is about 750 feet from the water—I got out and walked straight on and straight down the cables. I didn’t hesitate.
“The cables are surrounded by a great big cylinder, which is about three feet wide. It’s circular, which means that you only have about 18 inches at the top that you actually walk on; the rest is curving away from you. But there is a handrail on both sides. If you have people with you, if you give them confidence, you have no problems. If you don’t give them confidence, you have problems.
“Roberts’s double was actually a high-wire artist in her own right, but she had never been up that high. During a high-wire act, she was probably up about 40 feet. And 700 feet is quite a bit higher, so the first reaction can be a little tricky. For her, the best thing that could happen was that I went up and walked down and pretended I was going to lunch. And then she was okay.
“So we established that, and then we came back to the studio, where we had a duplicate of the bridge’s top section, and we actually did the real fight there with Roger, Chris and Tanya. The highest point was about 50 feet from the ground, and we had a duplicate airship swinging from the top.”
Grace also carefully coordinated the sequence in which Bond rides the blimp’s mooring cable to the bridge. Said Grace, “When Bond’s being carried to the bridge, he’s wearing a harness. We had a wire running through the rope so that he was harnessed from the waist onto a little loop coming out of the wire; we also had a foot stirrup made for him so he could put his foot in it and rest.
“It almost sounds too easy, but the thing is, hanging from a helicopter for fifteen minutes without those little aids—you couldn’t do it. It’s impossible to hang that long. There’s a limit to how long even the strongest man can hold onto a hanging rope. . . . So, obviously, there must be these safety precautions.”
A native of Lisdowney, County Kilkenny, Ireland, Grace made his debut as a utility stuntman on You Only Live Twice (1967).