Italian Job star and stuntman Dick Sheppard dies after record-breaking career

Stuntman Dick Sheppard has died at the age of 90, his heartbroken family has confirmed.

The showman appeared in over 500 films over the course of his illustrious career, most notably in the 1969 classic The Italian Job.

Sheppard died on March 1, with his family sharing a statement on Facebook on Wednesday, asking for privacy as they mourn his passing.

It read: “Fondly known by many for his obsession with cars and motorbikes; he was truly a larger-than-life character who caught the public's attention with his daredevil stunts and world records.

“His final wishes, however, were that we, his family, might grieve in private so that we can reflect upon his other roles as husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.”

Marrying three times, Sheppard was father to nine children and was a stepdad to another daughter.

At one point in his career, he held the most records in the Guinness World Book Of Records, though the title was later claimed by New Yorker Ashrita Furman.

Holding 18 world records over his glittering career, he was famed for his daredevil attitude to stunts, braving car wrecks and high-speed chases on the screen.

Shepphard was said to have destroyed over 2,000 cars while filming his mind-bending stunts for film and television.

Starring Michael Caine as ex-convict Charlie, The Italian Job is renowned for its road races, following a group of cons plotting an elaborate heist.

Performing stunts in the 60s classic, Sheppard also appeared in the James Bond flicks Thunderball and Diamonds Are Forever.

Later in life, the Gloucester-native wrote an autobiography to document his experiences, titled Whirling Wheels & Prancing Hooves.

Describing his decision to become a stuntman, Sheppard previously admitted it had been a calling throughout his childhood.

On his website, he wrote: "I spent a frustrating childhood waiting for the end of WW2.

"As soon as it was over, I entered the first post-war motorcycle scramble and carried on with every motorcycle activity as it became available – including trials riding, grass track racing, speedway, motorcycle football, ice racing and even the Wall of Death!"

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