Hollywood's Senior "Superheroes"
Stunt Daredevils In Their 60s and 70s
Secrets to Staying Strong and Healthy
By Rena Dictor LeBlanc
The next time you think,
I'm too old to do this
or I'm too old to do that,
the following may change your mind.
There are senior women and men performing physical feats of daring you might not have imagined.
And they're loving it!
We all know that Hollywood "Superheroes" like Superman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, and the rest of the gang that's out to save the world, appear to be in their twenties and thirties.
But, in real life there are Hollywood "Superheroes" going strong in their 60s and 70s. These men and women are tinseltown's senior stunt performers.
How do they overcome the obstacles of aging in order to continue their daredevil feats? They're happy to share some of the major secrets of their success. And following their examples may give your life a boost as well.
You might say Jeannie Epper/b> put the wonder in Wonder Woman. The 66-year-old great grandmother performed dangerous feats as actress Lynda Carter's stunt double in the TV series "Wonder Woman" in the late 1970s. In fact, according to Lynda, she once jumped into Jeannie's arms for a publicity photo and said, "Let's show everybody who the real Wonder Woman is."
Lifetime Achievement Award
Jeannie still is joyfully pursuing her lifelong career as a stuntwoman. She started when she was 9-years-old. In 2008 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Taurus World Stunt Awards. She's the first woman to receive the most prestigious honor in the stunt community.
What's her secret to being able to continue doing dangerous and physically challenging stunts? "One thing I'm doing is working out," she said. She's always exercised at a gym and walked several miles daily.
"I think everybody should have a workout plan and eat healthy. There's no reason you can't stay in shape ‘til you're 100 years old."
In the recent movie "Transformers" she was ducking, diving and sprinting over obstacles while trying to get away from a monster. Jeannie was featured in the documentary "Double Dare".
Jane Austin, national chair of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Stunts and Safety Committee said, "Taking great care of yourself is the key to enabling a person over 50 to continue performing stunts."
Though stunt performer Chuck Hicks is close to eighty he's still willing to take risks. Last November he crashed the car he was driving at 45 mph into the side of another car, wrecking both for the movie "Taken By Force. Chuck started as a stuntman when he was 25. He keeps healthy by doing water resistance pool exercises.
Stuntman Gene LeBell is 75 and still going strong. In one of his recent stunts he dangled fifteen feet in the air on a cable. "I still get lots of call for work," Gene said. "I love being a stuntman. It's my life. I can't do things I did 20 or 30 years ago, but I still do stunts."
Taking Great Care Of His Body
LeBell's means of surviving in the business also involves taking great care of his body. "I eat healthy six days, and on the seventh day I do pig out. Vitamins, supplements, exercise: keep your motor going as long as you can." Gene's website is http://www.genelebell.com/
Okay, so saying the word "Shazam!" enabled Billy Batson to become Captain Marvel in the comic books. But, it's not likely to work for us.
"Use It Or Lose It"
Jane Austin said the secret of survival for older stunt performers is "Use it or lose it." Our three senior stunt "Superheroes" would agree.
Previously published on Eons.com
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