Limoux – Meeting with Fernand Garanto, the impossible stuntman

Limoux – Meeting with Fernand Garanto, the impossible stuntman
Limoux – Meeting with Fernand Garanto, the impossible stuntman

the essential
A true emblematic figure of Limouxin, Fernand Garanto, in turn microlight pilot, carnival rider, sculptor, retraces the thousand adventures of his life as a stuntman.

He has an inimitable voice, gravelly and strong at the same time, happily mastering puns and jokes typically “made in Limoux”. Known as the white wolf in the Blanquetiere city, sixty-year-old Fernand Garranto has just written his memoirs as a professional stuntman in a book. An ode to nostalgia, Limouxin, refers to it in its introduction. A nostalgia of his own in the distant lands of South America, but also nostalgia for the Limoux contemporaries who rubbed shoulders with Fernand the stuntman.

Indeed, Fernand throws into this work Between action and passion his various aspirations since his adolescence and his first moped. A period of 16 years which will take him to the other side of the world and even to cross in his Chevrolet Cougar, a bus solidly secured vertically under the television prism of a Sunday show by Jacques Martin.

To tell the truth, Fernand was, from a very young age, touched by the all-consuming passion for the internal combustion engine, pushing its limits to the extreme. In the 1970s, stuntmen were real stars. Long before special effects and digital retouching for the filming of action films, stuntmen were called upon. Rémy Julienne, Gil Delamare, the Legris team attracted crowds during shows dominated by strong sensations and where the metal sheets were more than crumpled.

It was in this universe that Fernand put on his helmet and wetsuit, in this universe where he crashed into burning cars, rode on two wheels or threw his car over dozens of vehicles.

If this job was not without risk, they were, however, calculated as evidenced by the few passages in the book where Fernand explains the meticulousness sometimes pushed to the extreme in the preparation of a stunt. “Safety and mental preparation were essential.”

After his first tours in Italy, Fernand was always looking for improvement. In contact with José Canga and Jean Sunny, he participated in shows where acrobatic piloting became more and more spectacular, thus opening the doors to international productions. Reunion Island, Mexico, Panama and even Honduras, Frenchy was there assimilated to the cinema icon of the time, Brigitte Bardot. A happy and enriching period for Limouxin.

“Incredible but true”

What’s more, Fernand was not spared from accidents causing numerous injuries. However, the one that caused him the most injuries took place on a very classic route after a tour in France. “A driver lost control of her car and hit me. There were two deaths and I suffered a fractured cheekbone and 27 shards of glass in both eyes. I had to go to the hospital for three weeks with my eyelids sewn shut without knowing if I will be able to regain my sight. One of the most difficult ordeals of my life.

Some time later, in 1982, recovered from his injuries, Limouxin captured the attention of several million viewers for Jacques Martin’s show, Incredible but true. In fact, on the Carcassonne ring road of the old hospital, he will launch his Chevrolet Camaro at full speed against a bus erected vertically. A jump of more than thirty meters which will hit the bus at a height of 2.5 m. Then, one day, Fernand calmed down somewhat in the field of action. He settled down locally, pursuing the same passion for anything with an internal combustion engine. At the same time, he refined his artistic side for sculpture, happily creating carnival pierrot figurines.

A few springs passed by and Fernand felt the need to record his memories in a book: Memoirs of a Stuntman. A 127-page document which brings to the surface a certain era for Fernand and his Limoux entourage.

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