A Western entertainer known for his singing, songwriting, acting, writing and his past performance of film and television stunts. He was the youngest of four children born in Evergreen in Avoyelles Parish in South Central Louisiana to Charles Robbins, a native of Mississippi, and the former Mary Alice Grimble.
When Rudy was 2 years old, the family moved to Port Arthur, where he was reared. He graduated in 1952 from Thomas Jefferson High School, now known as Memorial High School, and then, for one academic year, attended Lamar University in Beaumont, known at the time as Lamar Technical Institute. Himself a Baptist, Robbins graduated in 1956 from East Texas Baptist University in Marshall with credentials in business administration and sociology.
From 1957-1959, Robbins served in the United States Army and was on the Fourth Army track team. He set a record for the javelin throw, the same event in which he had lettered at ETBU. In the Army, he met the son of a film producer who told him about the job opportunities in Hollywood as a stuntman.
After military service, he moved to Bandera, and worked for a time as a wrangler at the Dixie Dude Ranch until he was offered a speaking but unnamed role as one of the Tennessee Volunteers in John Wayne’s Epic The Alamo. In The Alamo, Robbins was involved in a short dialogue repeated several times during the film: a fellow Tennessean would review a developing situation and ask Robbins, “Do this mean what I think it do?” Robbins would reply “It do.” Thereafter John Wayne called Robbins by the nickname “It Do;” one of Robbins’ treasured possessions was a souvenir Alamo mug addressed to “It Do” from “Duke,” Wayne’s nickname. After the Alamo, Robbins went to Hollywood but returned semi-permanently to Bandera in 1971. Wayne introduced Robbins to legendary director John Ford, who hired him as an actor in Two Rode Together with James Stewart and Richard Widmark, and later for stunts in Cheyenne Autumn, also with Widmark, and in three other Wayne Films, McClintock with Maureen O’Hara, The Green Berets, and Rio Lobo. Robbins’ other parts were uncredited stunts in The Rounders in 1965, and Sugarland Express in 1974. He also appeared as a mechanic in Sugarland Express. He did stunts for CBS’s Gunsmoke in 1964, acting as a double for series star James Arness.
In 1966, Robbins played Josh Cutler in NBC’s Daniel Boone with Fess Parker. Robbins held Parker, later a large Los Angeles developer, in high esteem because Parker paid him in advance: “He knew I was hard up. When I showed up on Monday morning, he handed me an envelope with my first episode’s pay in advance,” recalled Robbins. Along with Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Charlton Heston, Robbins was awarded honorary membership in the Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures. Robbins also trained horses for other stuntmen and became a production manager for various shows. In 1967, he was selected by the United States Department of Commerce to go to Europe as a “Cowboy Goodwill Ambassador” to introduce and promote the sale of denim jeans.
Bandera Bulletin, March 1, 2011; Obituary of Rudy Warner Robbins