Cliff Vaughs Remembered
Long Way Home: The Cliff Vaughs Story
Associate producer preproduction stages of movie Easy Rider. Helped develop film's initial concept; provided title and film's ending scene, inspired by Cliff's experience being shot at while riding his chopper in Arkansas during Freedom Summer. Designed and built the Easy Rider bikes. Produced and Directed the Motorcycle Safety Film "Not So Easy" narrated by Peter Fonda, featuring Evel Kneivel. Instrumental in forcing the networks to open the local IATSE Cameraman's Union to blacks, women, and minorities. In 1976, tired of living with the constant indignities of racism in America, Cliff took to sea in a 41-ft wooden sailboat, spending years as an expatriate seafarer, adventurer, and occasional smuggler, roaming the Caribbean and Pacific. In 1982, spent six months in federal prison on a charge (later dismissed) of smuggling cocaine, marijuana, and Jamaicans into Florida. Released from prison with no boat, no money, and too many burned bridges, he lived "underground" (he never called it "homeless") within the drug culture on the streets of Florida for several years, before returning to California. In 1992, he bought a 44-foot ketch he named Amistad and spent the next twenty years at sea, until losing Amistad to pirates in Honduras in 2012, after which he returned to the United States. He died unexpectedly July 2, 2016, at the home we shared.