Who is Clay Virtue?
Clay Virtue (birth name Clayton John Virtue) was a well-beloved Hollywood stuntman born in Langley, British Columbia, Canada, on 16th November, 1984. His untimely death on 15th October, 2017 led to an outpouring of sorrow in the stunt community, and a flurry of support for his family and loved ones. In life, Clay was 5ft 11in (1.80m) tall. but his weight was unknown.
Danny Virtue, Clay’s father, is a multitalented producer, director and stunt coordinator who also trains horses. The Canadian film and television industries hold Danny in high esteem thanks to his decades of experience and scope of knowledge.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Danny began his career in the circus in the USA at the young age of 14, and later transitioned into the stunt world. He formed a partnership with Dar Robinson, his fellow circus performer, named “Stunts Behind the Scenes”. In 1984, Danny was responsible for creating and producing “World Circus ’84: The Five Ring Rock ‘n’ Roll Extravaganza”, a one-of-a-kind performance at the Los Angeles Forum before the Olympic Games.
Later on, Danny partnered up with Winston Rekert and shifted his focus towards the movies and television industry, thus creating “Neon Rider” – made up of 64 episodes, “this was the first indigenous TV series to be produced and set in British Columbia, and broke records after being syndicated in over 100 countries.
At this point, Danny began establishing himself as a philanthropist, when he won the Peter Ustinov Humanitarian Award at the Banff International Television Festival in 1993. Upon returning to British Columbia, Danny set up Virtue Studio Ranch on 200 acres of land. With hundreds of employees and millions of dollars of income generated yearly, the Virtue Studio Ranch marked another success in Danny’s lengthy career.
Working in Canada, the US and Europe, Danny has racked up over a thousand film and television credits to date, as well as working with platforms such as Apple TV+.
In 2000, he launched the Virtue Foundation, holding the annual “A Day at the Ranch” celebration at the Virtue Studio Ranch, and inviting hundreds of children to enjoy performances from animal trainers, gymnasts, celebrities, and stunt people, to name a few.
As for Clay’s older brother, Marshall Virtue, he was born on 22nd February, 1979, and follow in his father’s footsteps. Mainly known for his work as a stunt coordinator on “The 100” between 2014 and 2019, Marshall began working as a stunt double at just 11 years old, and never looked back.
Clay’s Career Beginnings
Clay was just seven years old when he did stunt work on “Omen IV: The Awakening”.
Five years later, he graced our screens again as a stunt performer, in the crime thriller series “Two”, starring Michael Easton and Barbara Tyson.
The late ‘90s were without a doubt a lucrative time for Clay and saw him do stunt work on “Dead Man’s Gun”, “Stargate SG-1”, and “Three”. Following a short hiatus, possibly to focus on finishing his studies, Clay returned to the scene in 2002 as a stuntman in the TV movie “Roughing It”, a drama set in America’s Gold Rush era.
Amassing credits in popular series such as the award-winning “The Dead Zone” and “Traffic”, Clay proved himself more than capable, and quickly gained traction in the stunt community, regardless of his illustrious surname.
Some high points in Clay’s career include his work on the 2014 blockbuster “Godzilla”, “War for the Planet of the Apes”, and “The Chronicles of Riddick”.
Clay’s Personal Life
Many fans don’t know that when he died Clay was married, and had a young son. Clay kept his relationship with wife Sarah relatively private, and to this day she remains a lowkey individual with no desire to be in the public eye.
With just over 400 Instagram followers, Sarah’s touching biography contains a message to her deceased husband which reads: “Watching our baby grow. R.I.P Clay and Tito, we love you”. Sarah’s feed includes photos of her family and loved ones; Instagram appears to be the only social media platform on which she’s active.
On 15th October, 2017, Clay died in a motorcycle stunt gone wrong in his hometown of Langley. However, his cause of death wasn’t publicly released, and his family merely said that he passed away “suddenly and unexpectedly”.
Clay’s death came as a blow to the stunt community, because just two months earlier, his colleague Joie Harris died on the set of “Deadpool 2”. Curiously, a preliminary investigation claimed that a “freak” motorcycle accident was Harris’ likely cause of death.
Stunts Canada, an organization for stunt doubles and co-ordinators, wasted no time in launching the Clay Virtue Memorial Fund to help his family out, raising $190,000, well over its humble goal of $50,000.
Dozens of celebrities such as Bob Morley helped spread the word about the memorial fund and raise donations. Stephen Amell, of “Arrow” fame, also shared the memorial fund on his Facebook page. All proceeds went to Sarah and Kai.
Described as a “passionate and larger than life man” in his obituary, Clay made his mark in the stunt community, and left behind his parents, brother, wife, and son. At the time, Marshall was working on “The 100” as a stunt coordinator and was able to dedicate an entire episode in the fifth season in memory of his brother, including Clay’s name in the ending credits as well.
StuntList, another stunt organization, advised members in the community to “please take stock of your situations and don’t be reluctant to ask for help.” Adding: “We also need to keep doing what we do best as a community, and that’s support each other, check in with each other, and reach out to anyone we think may be struggling…and it’s okay to be struggling”, alluding to mental health problems in the stunt community as a result of overworking.
Clay’s Net Worth
Before his tragic accident, Clay had over 100 stunt credits which helped him amass his seven-figure fortune. Reliable sources place Clay’s net worth at around $1 million at the time of his death. It’s unknown how much his estate is currently worth.