PHILADELPHIA - (AP) - "Jackass" star Ryan Dunn, who along withhis cast mates made Americans cringe and snicker through vulgarstunts in their multimillion-dollar TV and movie franchise, waskilled early Monday in a fiery car crash. He was 34.
Dunn, a daredevil who gained notoriety for diving into a sewagetank and performing other unsavory stunts, was driving his 2007Porsche in suburban Philadelphia when it careened off the road,flipped over a guardrail and crashed into the woods before burstinginto flames. A passenger, Zachary Hartwell, 30, of West Chester,Pa., was also killed, and speed may have been a factor in thecrash, West Goshen Township police said.
The force of impact shattered the vehicle into several twistedand blackened pieces, leaving the Porsche 911 GT3 unrecognizableexcept for a door that was thrown from the crash and notincinerated. A 100-foot-long tire skid marked where the car leftthe roadway.
Both Dunn and Hartwell were severely burned. Police said theywere able to identify Dunn through his tattoos and hair.
Dunn appeared on MTV shows "Jackass" and "Viva La Bam" andthe three "Jackass" big-screen adaptations. He also was the starof his own MTV show, "Homewrecker," and just began hosting theshow "Proving Ground" on the G4 cable network.
G4 spokesman Dave Welch said "Proving Ground," which premieredJune 11 with the second episode slated to air Tuesday, was beingpulled for now until the network can discuss the show's future.
Dunn also starred in the yet-to-be-released film "LivingWill." The film's website describes Dunn's character as a "partybum slacker (who) returns from the dead as a mischievous andperverted ghost."
Movie critic Roger Ebert tweeted about Dunn's death Monday andwas criticized by Dunn's "Jackass" co-star Bam Margera andblogger Perez Hilton.
Ebert wrote: "'Jackass"' star Ryan Dunn, RIP. His Porsche flewthrough 40 yards of trees." He later tweeted, "Friends don't letjackasses drink and drive," referring to a photograph Dunn postedon Twitter early Monday showing himself drinking with friends justhours before the 3 a.m. crash. The photo has since been removed.
"We understand what he's trying to say," Hilton wrote, "butstill - this is extremely insensitive!"
Margera erupted in expletives when he tweeted Monday nightsaying, "I just lost my best friend. I have been crying hystericalfor a full day and...Roger Ebert has the gall to put in his 2cents."
In a statement, MTV praised Dunn's humor and enthusiasm and saidhe would be missed.
"We are devastated by the tragic loss of Ryan Dunn - a belovedmember of the MTV family for more than a decade," said VanToffler, president of MTV Networks Music/Films Group. "The Jackassbrotherhood will never be the same."
Dunn was born in Ohio and moved at age 15 to Pennsylvania, wherehe met Margera on his first day of high school, according to abiography posted on his website.
Dunn, Margera, Christopher Raab (known as Raab Himself) andBrandon DiCamillo, under the moniker CKY for "Camp KillYourself," started making videos that featured them skateboardingand performing stunts.
Dunn was working as a welder and at a gas station when JohnnyKnoxville, a friend of Margera's through the skateboarding circuit,asked the crew to allow their videos to be part of the series"Jackass," which became a hit on MTV and ran from 2000 to 2002.
Perhaps his most famous stunt, in 2002's "Jackass: The Movie,"involved inserting a toy car into his rectum and going to anemergency room, where he made up a story that he was in mysteriouspain after passing out at a fraternity party. Dunn's X-ray from thehospital became a popular T-shirt for "Jackass" fans.
That first movie, filmed on a budget of just $5 million, went onto make more than $60 million in the United States alone. The mostrecent installment, released in 3-D in 2010, brought in $50 millionon its opening weekend alone.
In a 2000 stunt, he dived into a tank at a raw sewage plantwearing flippers, a mask and a snorkel.
Autopsies were to be conducted Monday, though it was unclearwhen the results would be released.
According to court documents, Dunn was charged in April 2005with driving under the influence after crashing his car in WestWhiteland Township, about 2 miles north of Monday's crash site. Thedocuments show he successfully completed a program designed forfirst-time, nonviolent offenders that allows charges to bedismissed after defendants finish the program.