Groundbreaking Hollywood Stuntwoman Jeannie Epper Dies at 83

Groundbreaking Hollywood Stuntwoman Jeannie Epper Dies at 83
Jeannie Epper arrives at the Seventh Annual Taurus World Stunt Awards in Los Angeles, Calif., on May 20, 2007. (Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

Hollywood stunt performer Jeannie Epper, best known for doubling for Lynda Carter in the “Wonder Woman” television series, has died at 83.

Ms. Epper died from natural causes on May 5 at her home in Simi Valley, California.

Ms. Carter paid tribute to her fellow superheroine after working alongside each other from 1975 to 1979.

“I have a lot to say about Jeannie Epper. Most of all, I loved her. I always felt that we understood and appreciated one another,” she said in a statement on social media.

Ms. Epper was the main stunt double for the television show and was known for pushing boundaries, leading to her work in over 150 credits during her long career.

Ms. Carter reflected on the time they spent together and what it was like to work in Hollywood in that era.

“It was the 70s. We were united in the way that women had to be in order to thrive in a man’s world, through mutual respect, intellect and collaboration,” she said.

Sharing a photo of the two in matching Wonder Woman costumes on set, the actress said Ms. Epper was an example for others in the industry.

“Jeannie was a vanguard who paved the way for all other stuntwomen who came after. Just as Diana was Wonder Woman, Jeannie Epper was also a Wonder Woman. She is so beautiful to me. Jeannie, I will miss you,” she said.

Ms. Epper is survived by her husband Tim, son Richard, daughter Eurlyne, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Early Career

Ms. Epper was born in 1941 in Glendale, California, and kicked off her career at a young age.

Following in the footsteps of her father, who was a stuntman himself, she was just 9 years old when she successfully completed her first stunt riding a horse bareback down a mountain.

She received her big break in 1964, with her first credit in the Western film “Cheyenne Autumn,” followed by a four-season run of “The Big Valley.” This was a monumental step in an industry where at the time, men would stunt double for women.

Spanning over a 70-year career, Ms. Epper held an impressive resume performing stunts in films including “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” “Kill Bill: Vol. 2,” and “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

Considered the greatest in her craft, Ms. Epper became a founding member of the Stuntwomen’s Association of Motion Pictures in 1968, and while remaining an honorary member, she became president of the association in 1999.

Her best known role on “Wonder Woman” had her crashing through windows, kicking down doors, and deflecting bullets, while in the same era doubling in “Bionic Woman” and the original “Charlie’s Angels.”

She was spotlighted in “Double Dare,” a 2004 documentary about stuntwomen, and just three years later received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the “Taurus World Stunt Awards,” becoming the first woman to be selected for the honor.

According to its website, the foundation honors “the movie industry’s unsung heroes, and world’s best stunt professionals who risk their lives to perform the most daring stunts that bring action and excitement to the movie-going public.”

From jumping through fire, fighting superheroes, and action packed car scenes, Ms. Epper remained fearless with her agility and willingly putting herself in harm’s way.

In 2021, Ms. Epper completed her final film credit at 80 years old.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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