Stuntman Loren Janes remembered for his bravery and love

Jan Sanborn and Loren Janes lost their home in the Sand Fire. Courtesy photo

Loren Janes spent much of his life and career in the face of danger.

The Hollywood stuntman and stunt coordinator was known for the hazardous scenes he performed in, playing the part of famous celebrities in car chases, fight scenes and high jumps.

After attending California State San Luis Obispo, Janes was in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. Janes’ endurance even landed him on the United States Olympic team in 1956 and 1964 to compete in the pentathlon.

Surviving challenging stunts professionally and eminent danger elsewhere, the 85-year-old Santa Clarita resident died on June 24 after fighting Alzheimer’s disease.

Janes has been honored with multiple awards, including the Golden Boot Award, a Taurus World Stunt Award and induction into the gallery of acrobatic legends in the World Acrobatics Society.

He also boasted one of the industry’s best safety records and never broke a bone despite being in over 5,000 television episodes and over 500 movies.

Janes, alongside Dick Geary, was also the cofounder for the Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures.

The body double took on hundreds of roles during his career, including standing in for names like Steve McQueen, Kirk Douglas, Shirley MacLaine, Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman, Frank Sinatra, Charles Bronson, John Wayne, Debbie Reynolds and Yul Brynner.

Among his most notable credits are “Bullitt,” “Spartacus,” “Other Side of the Mountain,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “The Ten Commandments,” “How the West Was Won,” “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” “The Dirty Dozen,” “The Graduate,” “Planet of the Apes,” “The Poseidon Adventure,” “Back to the Future,” “To Live and Die in L.A.” and “Spider-Man.”

But this long list of accomplishments is not the only way his loved ones remember him.

Janes was a man who kept his word, who loved animals and his family, who lived purposefully and who treated everyone with kindness.

This is according to Janet Hansen, daughter of Janes’ wife of 20 years, composer and musician Jan Sanborn. Before her mother married Janes, he was a family friend of theirs and Hansen had known him her whole life.

“He was so authentic,” Hansen said. “He could light up a room just because he was himself.”

Though he lived an incredibly big life, he was completely humble, Hansen said. He did not let his accomplishments inflate his ego, but approached everyone with a good sense of humor.

When he found out Sanborn was single again years into their friendship, he saw her perform and their romance began to blossom.

“He was quite content to be Jan’s husband and she was quite content to be Loren’s wife,” Hansen said.

The two were incredibly happy together and Sanborn is trying to focus on their happy memories together in light of her heartbreak, her daughter said.

“She is doing her best to treasure the years she did have with him,” she said. “She’s going to miss him every day.”

Last summer, Janes and Sanborn had to evacuate their home in Canyon Country when it burned during the Sand Fire.

The two made Santa Clarita headlines when First Presbyterian Church of Newhall rallied around them by holding a fundraising concert to support the couple.

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