On Monday morning, June 20, Jackass star Ryan Dunn died in a fiery cash in Pennsylvania. In the car with him was a friend and Jackass 2 production assitant Zachary Hartwell who also died in the accident. So much has happened since then including police reporting that Dunn was drunk at the time of the crash and driving close to 140 miles-per-hour.
The Westboro Baptist Church announced their plans of protesting any funeral or memorial service that would be put on for Dunn. Friends, family, and colleagues made sure to let it be known just how they felt about the whole thing. Film critic Roger Ebert even chimed in his two cents as did Dunn’s best friend, a teary-eyed Bam Margera.
Director Jeff Tremaine took to the production company’s website for Jackass and decided to give his memories and thoughts on the late Ryan Dunn.
I am so destroyed by the loss of Ryan that words cannot describe it. He was such a huge part of our family and it is forever changed without him. Over the last few days, I’ve been flooded with amazing and touching thoughts from both people who knew him and those who didn’t but still loved him. Ryan was a dude’s dude. Here are a few stories about him that I’d like to share…
Ryan was not very good at personal hygiene—he was a dirty man. The first thing we ever shot with him was the “Poo Dive” and he didn’t shower after that for the whole week we were there in West Chester.
For those that don’t remember or have never seen it, in an early episode of Jackass, Dunn and the gang went to the local sewage run-off for a stunt. Dunn then took it upon himself to strip down, put on a life preserver, and dive into the dirty and dank water that just could not have been healthy.
I think it was during season two of jackass when we were all riding in a van and I made the mistake of falling asleep. Dunn quickly shoved his index finger up his butt and leaned over the seat to give me a very aggressive rusty hook. His dirty fingernails scratched my gums and I can still recall the disgusting odor and it makes me sick. His butt smelled the worst of all the guys.
One of my favorite memories of Ryan comes from the time we were filming jackass the movie (2002). We were almost done shooting and getting set to go to Florida for our last trip. The entire production team was gathered around a conference table and Steve-O had just dropped the bomb on us that he was not going to do the “Butt X-Ray.” Everyone was bummed out and we were scrambling to fill in the schedule. Just then, Ryan Dunn walked into the room and asked what everyone was so sad about. I told him, “Steve-O won’t put the car in his butt because he’s afraid of what his dad would think.” Ryan looked me in the eye and said, “This idea is too stupid not to shoot—someone has to do it.” I stared back at him and said, “You’re right, Ryan, SOMEONE has to do it.” The bit is one of the funniest things we ever shot and it closed the movie. Ryan was always willing to take things to the next level. I really don’t think he loved doing stunts at all … he just loved to make us laugh.
This is a stunt that is hard to really explain into much more detail, so check out this clip from an episode of Jackass that shows Dunn taking part in a stunt that Steve-O even turned down.
See images from Tremaine’s memories of Ryan Dunn
One terribly stupid bit we shot with Dunn was during jackass number two (2006). We were in Louisiana and we had just blown Wee Man across the lake on a parachute with airboats. After that successful bit, we thought it would be funny to re-enact the scene from Teen Wolf, where he was riding on top of the van, but instead of Michael J. Fox it would be Ryan on water skis. Preston was the driver and he was supposed to floor the van into the boat launch and then slam on the brakes to send Dunn skimming across the water. The problem was, Preston hit the brakes a bit too early and the water was a lot shallower than we thought. Ryan body-slammed into the lake with a big splash (he always had great style when he slammed), and when he finally stood up I asked him if he was okay. He gave me the funniest, most sarcastic look, and just pointed to his feet so I could see that he landed on cement covered by ankle-deep water. Sorry for that one, buddy.
While this is a stunt that never made it into the movie, it just goes to show you that not everything the Jackass crew did was over the top disgusting. Sometimes it was so incredbily dangerous that something like water-skiing could have turned into severely broken legs for Dunn. He certainly wasn’t afraid to do it though.
Ryan was always so much fun to film with, and he was never happier than he was during jackass 3D (2010). He was so positive and just glad to be around everybody. One of my favorite quotes of his was from the “Snake River Redemption”, where he nervously checked out his mini-bike and then said under his breath, “N’awesome”—meaning “not awesome”. I say that all the time now.
He really was at peace with himself and told me many times how he couldn’t believe how lucky he was. Not just because the success of jackass and his work, but that he also had Angie. They had been together for as long as I can remember, and he couldn’t understand why a girl that pretty and awesome would stay with him. They were so much fun to be around together, and he just adored her. God bless you, Angie.
Get ready to laugh, angels, because you’re getting a great one.
I love you, Ryan Dunn.
Surely now there will be many out there saying “N’Awesome” from here on out as Dunn is someone that will forever be enshrined in the memories of so many friends, family, and fans.
In no way can drinking and driving ever be condoned or looked at in a positive light and it is truly a shame here that two people lost their lives with that horrible decision as a factor. Still, two people are gone and the sadness and grief will be there for a long time to come as Ryan Dunn and Zachary Hartwell live on in the hearts and memories of so many for a long time.
See full coverage of Ryan Dunn’s fatal accident:
- Jackass star Ryan Dunn dies in Monday morning accident
- Stars of Jackass and more remember Ryan Dunn
- News on Dunn’s crash including Roger Ebert’s reaction, G4 pulling Dunn’s show
- Pics of Dunn’s final hours and Bam Margera rips Roger Ebert
- Video of a tear-filled Bam Margera as he visits the site where Dunn died
- WBC plans to protest any memorial services for Dunn
- Police report Dunn was over the legal limit at the time of crash
Jackass can still be seen in reruns on MTV and it’s host of networks. Those in the New Orleans area can catch Dunn while on Jackass on MTV which is Cox Cable channel 27. G4 in New Orleans can be found on Cox Cable channel 331 even though it has already pulled Dunn’s new show Proving Ground.
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