Lincoln resident and renowned stuntman Crash Moreau, seen here in his appearance on "America's Got Talent" in 2013, died last month. Credit: Courtesy of NBC Universal

James “Crash” Moreau, a stuntman who over the course of a more than 50-year career crashed nearly every type of vehicle imaginable and set himself on fire for the entertainment of crowds across the country, died last month in his hometown of Lincoln. He was 73, according to an obituary published in the Bangor Daily News.

Moreau started his stunt career in 1967 at the age of 21 with Joie Chitwood, a famed stuntman, daredevil and race car driver whom Evel Knievel said was his inspiration. Moreau toured with Chitwood and other stunt show organizers for decades, traveling to fairs and carnivals all across the U.S. and Canada.

Moreau’s specialty was crashing or blowing up cars and blowing himself up, according to Canadian stunt show organizer Rob Connelly, who worked with Moreau over the years.

Moreau blew up more than 2,000 cars over the course of his career, and he learned how to “blow himself up” using dynamite in the early 1970s, dubbing himself “Captain Explosion,” Connelly said in a Facebook post paying tribute to Moreau.

“Jim is probably one of the most versatile stunt performers in the outdoors entertainment business,” Connelly said. “He’s known by everyone in the business from coast to coast.”

Moreau crashed, blew up or jumped over ramps with more than just cars. He did stunts with motorcycles, snowmobiles, go-karts, school buses and dump trucks, according to both Connelly and to Moreau’s obituary. He sometimes dressed as a clown, and once, for the 1976 stunt documentary “Death Riders,” he rolled over a car while naked, wearing only a crash helmet and cowboy boots.

Born in 1948 in Old Town, Moreau grew up in Lincoln and attended Mattanawcook Academy. Though his career took him all over North America, he called Lincoln his home for his entire life. He is survived by his two daughters Tina and Shasta and six grandchildren.

In addition to his own stunts, Moreau also coordinated stunts for other performers, including training motorcycle jumpers for new shows. In 2004, he helped stuntman “Wildman” Al Sleep set a Guinness world record for longest garbage truck ramp jump, sending a garbage truck off an 8-foot dirt pile to sail for 77 feet in total.

In 2013, Moreau appeared on “America’s Got Talent” as Captain Explosion, blowing himself up in front of the judges, though he didn’t make it past the first round of auditions. Despite being a legend in the stunt world, he maintained a low profile in Maine.

“After 54 years, I’ve met so many people in the business. But because of the internet, I now have so many friends from Australia and Europe,” Moreau said in a 2020 interview posted on YouTube. “That makes me feel really good, because most of the people at home don’t even know who I am.”

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.