General News

Monkeemobile designer dies

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May 12, 2013 | 1:31pm EDT

The celebrity car customiser behind The Monkees' novelty Monkeemobile has died, aged 80. Dean Jeffries passed away on 5 May (13) at his home in North Hollywood, California. The designer and painter was well known for his customisation skills and showed off his work in films like Bikini Beach in 1964 and The Blues Brothers in 1980. He was famed for the fun vehicle he created for The Monkees' sitcom in the 1960s, and customised cars for Steve McQueen, Tony Martin, Harry Belafonte and James Dean - who died in 1955 in a high-speed car crash while behind the wheel of the newly-painted Porsche Jeffries had completed just a month before. He also became a movie stuntman, driving the cars that he built, and broke his back while shooting 1981 action comedy Honky Tonk Freeway. He recovered and returned to films, but retired three years later after injuring himself again in a stunt for Romancing the Stone.

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