Hollywood actor flies flag for Burnley FC

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A HOLLYWOOD stuntman and actor who was once Sean Connery's body double is flying the flag for the Clarets.

John Saint Ryan, who started life as John Barker growing up in Burnley, now lives on a 40-acre ranch north of Los Angeles, but still finds time to follow the Clarets on satellite television.

Aware of their struggle for Premier League survival, John (57) forwarded a rousing photo of himself proudly flying a Clarets flag as he rides his horse.

Speaking from California John said: "I have been very fortunate in my life and am now completely settled on my ranch in America, but I still follow the fortunes of my hometown club.

"I think they are a great team but sadly are struggling a bit at the moment. I hope this picture will help keep their chins up and help them avoid relegation."

John, who attended Rosehill Junior School, became a bookseller and martial arts teacher in Burnley, before moving to LA 18 years ago after impressing producers with a string of independent films. He won a contract with Cannon Films before returning briefly to England in 1994 to star in "Coronation Street".

He never looked back and later appeared alongside tragic Hollywood actor Heath Ledger in television series "Roar", in which the talented Australian came to prominence. Another co-star in "Roar" was Vera Farmiga, recently nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

John added: "Heath and Vera were two young but very promising actors when I worked with them and I knew they would go far. It was so sad what happened to Heath, he was a great lad.

"Working as Sean Connery's body double in 'Medicine Man' was my proudest moment though. We spent six months filming in Mexico and I found him to be an exceptional man."

John's talent as an actor and stuntman also saw him land roles in "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and several films.

He now spends much of his time teaching and riding in the horse discipline of Doma Vaquera, being US champion three years in a row.

He still has an eye on the movie industry and is working with producers on new projects, but keeping his other eye firmly on the Clarets.

"I really enjoy working with wild horses like Mustangs, and for that I have the late Tom Dorrance to thank. He was a wonderful horseman.

"My new movie work is looking at themes of redemption in the style of Sam Peckinpah. I really hope Burnley can redeem themselves. I'm confident they can stay where they belong."