One of Hollywood's busiest and most accomplished stunt men for over two decades, Hal Needham broke into directing features via his friend, actor Burt Reynolds, who starred in several wildly popular if decidedly low-brow action-comedies for him, including "Smokey and the Bandit" (1977), "Hooper" (1978) and "The Cannonball Run" (1981). Critics despised Needham's cardboard scripts, which were largely constructed as filler between elaborate stunts and stale gags, but he deflected naysayers with good humor. Laughter seemed to be the key element of his work both on and offscreen, as evidenced by his penchant for running bloopers under the end credits of his films. Needham's career waned in the early 1980s, prompting a move to television, but his early movie efforts remained the epitome of crowd-pleasing, popcorn-driven entertainment for over three decades. He died in October 2013.