The list of well-known Hollywood stars who have appeared on Only A Game is pretty short. OK, the list of Hollywood stars is pretty short, period.
We’ve interviewed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of Airplane! fame, but as you might know, he also had a little side job in the NBA before becoming an author. We’ve also spoken with Peter Scolari, best known for his roles in TV’s Bosom Buddies and Newhart. Angelo Pizzo, the screenwriter behind Hoosiers and Rudy, joined Bill Littlefield on the program. And our most recent brush with Tinsletown came when we interviewed the bespectacled bruisers from Slap Shot: the Hanson brothers.
As for Oscar winners, the list was nonexistent … until now.
During the 2013 Academy Awards, one past OAG guest got some significant screen time. Hal Needham was one of four recipients of the Academy’s Governors Awards, which were awarded in an earlier ceremony. Needham received an honorary Oscar for his work as a prolific and pioneering stuntman who went on to direct a number of box-office successes, including Smokey and the Bandit (which he also co-wrote) and The Cannonball Run. What’s the connection to sports? He owned a NASCAR team in the 1980s.
After 56 broken bones, collapsed lungs, and some creative, yet stunningly ill-advised experiments involving rockets and cars, Needham lived to tell about it all. In 2011, Bill Littlefield spoke with Needham about his book Stuntman!, which detailed the author’s wild life on and off the sets of his films.