Longtime stunt coordinator Jery Hewitt, known for his work on the Coen Brothers’ films, including “The Big Lebowski” and the Academy Award-winning “No Country for Old Men,” along with Wolf Entertainment shows such as “Law & Order,” died Saturday, his family confirmed. He was 71.
Over the past 30 years, Hewitt worked on more than 300 episodes of Dick Wolf programming, including “Law & Order,” “New York Undercover” and “Law & Order: SVU.” Known as one of New York’s most prominent stunt coordinators and performers, he was working on the 22nd season of “Law & Order: SVU” prior to his death earlier this month.
Hewitt worked on 14 of the Coen Brothers’ films, with his efforts bringing iconic moments to life, such as teaching actor Tex Cobb how to ride a motorcycle in 1987’s “Raising Arizona” to sending his wife and collaborator for the past 25 years, Jennifer Lamb, hurtling into a snake pit in the 2010 remake of “True Grit.” His stunt credits also include “Independence Day,” “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “School of Rock,” “Coyote Ugly,” “Good Will Hunting,” and hundreds of others.
Hewitt was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on March 6, 1949 and lived in Queens until moving to Warwick 40 years ago. He attended the State University of New York at Farmingdale and graduated with a degree in food science, sparking his commitment to being ecologically conscious and eventually leading him to build his own home in Warwick.
Outside of coordinating stunts, Hewitt appeared in several films, including the 1979 action crime drama “The Warriors,” “Tempest” and “Malcolm X.” In 1977, Hewitt helped George Willig on his audacious climb of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. He also became a skilled hot air balloon pilot and spent several years involved in Civil War reenactments.
Once described as “the thinking man’s stunt coordinator,” his family said: “He knew how to make things happen in a seamless and magical way. His laser-focused attention to detail ensured the safety of those he was working with and allowed the precision of the moment to be captured on film with clarity and the true beauty of the story he was helping to tell.”
He is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and their children, Harry, Kevin, Sam and Molly. He is also survived by his brother, Don Hewitt and his wife, Mary.