American Handgunner May/June 2013 Digital Edition - Page 64

knifemaker Jimmy lile leaveS hiS mark pat covert photoS: chuck pittman, inc. he state of Arkansas is famous for many things. The first Walmart discount store, a president of the United States, and some of the country’s most beautiful mountains — the Ozarks — immediately come to mind. But to one famous actor and a whole slew of knife aficionados there’s a guy named Jimmy Lile whose memory brings a smile. Born in 1933, Lile was raised in Russellville, Ark., where he would become a forerunner of a plethora of excellent knifemakers located in the northwest corner of the state, including Bob Dozier, Ryan Wilson, Kenny Teague, Tom Krein and Daniel Crotts. His fame and influence, however, would go far beyond Arkansas to moviegoers and knife fans throughout the world. You see Jimmy Lile is the knifemaker who made the first two Rambo knives used by Sylvester Stallone in his legendary Mission film series. There is no bigger Jimmy Lile fan than John Henry Hill Jr., an oil, gas and real estate magnate who knew Jimmy Lile for over 20 years, leading up to Jimmy’s passing in 1991. Hill has made it his mission to make sure the Jimmy Lile legend lives on by marketing top shelf replicas of the artisan’s knives and promoting a superb book, James B. Lile, The Arkansas Knifesmith, Knifemaker To The World by Jack Lucarelli and John H. Hill, Jr. on the Lile Knives, LLC website. The Stallone Connection American Handgunner asked Hill to give us a background on how the Jimmy Lile/Sylvester Stallone connec- 64 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • MAY/JUNE2013

Page 63 ... Page 65