Ryan Dunn: Jackass or Genius?

Ryan Dunn, who was killed in a car crash in Pennsylvania early Monday morning, died a multi-millionaire, thanks to his work in "Jackass." But was Dunn simply a "jackass" risking his safety in stupid stunts, or was he part of a genius crew of people -- namely Johnny Knoxville and Bam Margera -- who figured out a creative way to make money and entertain people through seemingly ridiculous acts?

Included among Dunn's best known stunts was diving into a raw sewage tank wearing a mask, snorkel and flippers. Certainly disgusting, but it can also be considered daring.

There was nothing daring about his most famous stunt -- placing a toy car into his rectum, then going to a doctor complaining about pain in his tailbone. An x-ray revealed the car, much to the shock of the doctor.

It was stunts like those that gave Dunn, and "Jackass" in general, a bad name in many circles. Critics admonished the actors for risking their lives, and perhaps encouraging young people to try the same dangerous stunts at home.

Of course, life did imitate art for Ryan Dunn. The actor was killed doing something extremely dangerous and stupid. Although his blood alcohol level hasn't been revealed yet, police say Dunn's car was going 130 mph when it slammed into trees and exploded.

Yet the same "dangerous and stupid" TV show and movies have their multitude of fans. The movies, which were cheap to make, have grossed hundreds of millions of dollars, making all of these "jackasses" rich men. It has also added to the bottom line of producer MTV.

Here is a recent clip of one of Dunn's more tame stunts, and even this one has its dangers:


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