|Birth Day:||November 13, 1899|
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He played basketball and football both in high school and through his college years at Auburn University. He then played semi-professional baseball in Florida.
Lemuel Howard Hill was born in Wilsonville, Alabama, in 1899, the youngest of Mary E. (née Crumpton) and John F. Hill's nine children. Growing up on a cotton farm, Howard learned how to use various tools, along with weapons of all types, including bows and arrows that his father made for him and his four older brothers. He began using a bow at age four and by age six he received his own homemade archery set, which he used for target practice and for hunting in the woods surrounding his family's property. Later, when Howard attended high school in nearby Columbiana, he proved to be an exceptional athlete in a variety of other sports, including baseball, basketball, football, and golf. On September 12, 1918, during World War I, he registered for the United States military, but the war ended just two months later, so he never entered the service. On his draft card, he signed his name "Howard H. Hill", indicating that he had altered his full name, adding a middle "H" and dropping his first name Lemuel, as it is documented in the federal census of 1910.
Following his graduation from high school, Hill enrolled at age 19 at Auburn Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University), where he continued to play baseball, football, and basketball. He completed two years of study at Auburn, paying his tuition and living costs at school with money he earned giving archery lessons during summer vacations. Later, after getting married in 1922, Hill and his wife moved to Florida. There he found employment as a machinist with a division of Hughes Tool Company, and he also played semi-pro baseball on the side. When his interest in a possible career in baseball began to ebb, he considered playing golf professionally; but he returned again to his childhood passion for archery. Hill became a regular competitor in field events for the longbow; and by 1930 he identified himself vocationally as a "manufacturer" of archery equipment or "tackle" in Opa-locka, located just north of Miami. Soon, his growing involvement working in Hollywood films as an archery expert, stuntman, and adviser prompted the Hills to move to Los Angeles, California, where by 1940 they owned a home at 12007 Saticoy Street and Howard identified his full-time occupation then as a performer or "Artist" in motion pictures.
Hill was married only once. On October 31, 1922, he married Elizabeth Hodges, a native of Ashville, Alabama, who was his former high-school English teacher. They remained together for 53 years, until Howard's death at age 75 in February 1975. His gravesite is located in the New Ashville Cemetery in St. Clair County, Alabama.
Among his many achievements in archery, Howard Hill in 1928 set a new world record for the farthest recorded flight shot with a bow and arrow, at 391 yards (358 m). That same year, he won his 196th field archery competition in a row. Hill, though, was not only one of the most decorated archers in the modern era of target shooting, hunting, and flight archery competitions, he was also a celebrated writer and producer. During his career, he produced 23 films about archery for Warner Bros. He also produced 10 different films of his own and was a technical adviser in far more motion pictures, providing his expertise in the field. As a bowhunter himself, he killed over 2,000 animals with his longbow, including a 10,000-pound African bull elephant, becoming the first white man to kill such an animal with an arrow. To accomplish that feat he used a 41-inch-long (100 cm) arrow while pulling a 115-pound bow.
Earlier, in 1937 for Spectrum Pictures, Hill had performed in the Western The Singing Buckaroo, portraying the character Maneeto, a Native American friend of the film's star, Fred Scott. The next year he exhibited his expertise with the bow in Follow the Arrow, a short film that includes a skeet-shooting contest between Hill and a marksman armed with a shotgun. In 1938 he also performed all the bow-and-arrow stunts for Errol Flynn's Technicolor "swashbuckler" The Adventures of Robin Hood, followed by additional stunts and trick shots for other films starring Flynn, including The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Dodge City, and Virginia City.
On February 17, 1955, Hill appeared as a contestant on You Bet Your Life, a popular American quiz series hosted on both radio and television by comedian Groucho Marx. In that televised broadcast, Hill describes the most challenging trick shot he ever performed and also briefly discusses his experiences hunting elephants with a bow and arrow. He and his game partner then attempt to win the show's grand-prize of $1,500; but they lose, failing to answer correctly a question relating to the Battle of Hastings. Ironically, considering Hill's profession, archers played a pivotal role in that battle, which occurred in England in 1066. According to some historical accounts, the Anglo-Saxon king, Harold II, died in the fighting after being "struck in the eye" by a Norman arrow.
Numerous local, state, and national organizations devoted to the sport of archery have honored Hill. He was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham in 1971, the Archery Hall of Fame in Springfield, Missouri, in 1972; and into the Bowhunters Hall of Fame in Squaw Valley, California, in 1975. His remarkable achievements have been highly regarded internationally as well as in the United States. In Canada, for example, Archery Toronto currently recognizes Hill as "one of the three greatest archers of the last century", the other two being, in that organization's estimation, the legendary Japanese Zen bowman Awa Kenzō and Byron Ferguson, a native of Alabama like Hill.
The splitting-the-arrow scene in The Adventures of Robin Hood is explained by Hollywood stuntman Buster Wiles in his 1988 book My Days With Errol Flynn. In it Wiles reveals that although Hill had split the end off of several arrows, he was unable to split the arrow exactly as scripted (from end-to-end). Finally, a specially constructed arrow with a large bladed head was used and shot at the target arrow along a concealed wire. Nevertheless, Hill's accuracy was otherwise so precise that he routinely hit extremely small targets in both live and filmed demonstrations.
While performing in the role of an archer in The Adventures of Robin Hood (starring Errol Flynn), Hill made perhaps the most iconic bow-and-arrow shot in American film history: Robin Hood shooting his own arrow to split a competitor's arrow already embedded in a distant target. In 2006, cast members of the Australian-American television series MythBusters were unable to replicate the end-to-end splitting of an arrow, so they concluded that Hill probably used a shaft made of bamboo, not wood, for the famous shot.
Byron Ferguson, a renowned bowhunter himself and a trick-shot expert, was able to perfectly split an arrow lengthwise using a modern laminated longbow, a shot that was filmed for the television special Extreme Marksmen and broadcast on the History Channel in 2008. Byron Ferguson, however, did not split a wooden arrow but telescoped a modern aluminum arrow into another. The aluminum and carbon-fiber arrow shafts used by modern archers are more consistent and straighter than wood arrows, making for more consistent shots. That makes Hill's feat truly impressive since he used only cedar wood arrows. Hill had designed and used specially made aluminum shafts to hunt African elephants for his full-length color film Tembo (1951).
After graduating high school he married his former English teacher.
Currently, Howard Hill is 122 years, 8 months and 26 days old. Howard Hill will celebrate 123rd birthday on a Sunday 13th of November 2022. Below we countdown to Howard Hill upcoming birthday.