In the late 80's a fellow
Paula Moody, broke her back in an equestrian
accident, went through numerous surgeries
never work as a
Janet Lee Orcutt
Janet Lee Orcutt, born in Indiana, was a natural stuntwoman! She loved swimming and high driving and took home many metals. She came out to Hollywood, to make her mark as a working stuntwoman and began her training with the Bob Yerkes and the first Kahana Stunt School. Her first film was Frightmare aka Body Snatcher in 1983. She went on to work in such films as Vendetta, Cold Steele, Critters II, Basic Instinct, Rocketeer, Army of Darkness and Star Trek Nemesis.
At one time, Janet was a power lifter, but
leaned down so that she could double thinner actresses. She loved doing high falls and her dog, Bentley, a Basset hound that went everywhere with her. Her last show was on Stuntmasters, where Janet was going to do a 200ft jump out of a hot-air balloon in Ireland. The jump was not successful. Janet survived but had a C6-C7 cervical injury that rendered her a quadriplegic.
She has been greatly missed in the stunt community and is remembered for her contagious laugh and love for high falls.
was burned in an accident when her
sleeping bag caught
on fire during a camping
trip. She suffered 3rd and
4th degree burns
and has endured numerous operations
save her limbs.
Maria Doest came from Houston Texas in 1983. She had been teaching martial arts for 10 years and women's self-defense for 7 years. Maria held a 5th degree black belt in Okinawan Karate and had three Karate schools. Her passion was always the martial arts and the safety of women, children and people who were disabled.
Maria felt by becoming a stunt coordinator some day, she could change how women were depicted in film. Her first break came from Coordinator Don Pike.
Maria was working towards her dream when in her 12th year as a Stuntwoman, both her stunt career and martial arts career were over, and her three schools had to be closed.
On July 2, 1996, on the set of “Beautician and the Beast”, Maria was sprayed with fire retardant and then fire gel was layered on top. This was done three times for three scenes.
Maria suffered nerve damage and lunge damage. She still suffers today with nausea 24/7 from the chemical exposure, and also has reactive airway disease. She still has to take a medication for people who receive chemotherapy, and finally after 11 ½ years received 100% disability.
Maria is still fighting for the willful decision in her workers compensation case.
Maria says, “I feel extremely lucky to have had the support of the members of the Stuntwomen’s Association of Motion Pictures and the Pacific Association of Martial Artists. I would have been lost without their support. I am glad that SAG now has a Stunt Safety Department after what happened to me.
The monetary help I received from the Stuntwomen’s Foundation, and all the stunt people who were kind enough to help with donations will always be a blessing to me and I will be forever grateful. Thank you.”
Svetla Krasteva - Foley
Svetla was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in 1961.
She attended the Sports School there and
specialized in Gymnastics and became part of
her country’s Olympic team specializing in floor
and beam. Afterwards she joined the Bulgarian
National Acrobatic team and excelled in trio
acrobatics (hand balancing). This led to many
years of work in various circuses around the
world including Circus Midrano, Brazil Jack,
Circus Vargas, and Ringling Brothers. It was
Ringling that brought her to the U.S., where
she was part of a Bulgarian troupe.
She left the circus in 1991 and was soon
invited to Los Angeles by Bob Yerkes to work in
the motion picture business as a Stuntwoman.
For eleven years she worked in numerous
films, TV shows, and commercials where her
diminutive 4’10”, 90 lbs. size allowed her to
stunt double many child actors and was a
member of United Stuntwomen’s Association.
Svetla was also a world-class tandem surfer,
displaying her incredible athleticism on the
waves at Malibu, Santa Cruz, in Australia,
and in France where she and her surf partner
Danny always finished in the top three (usually
in first) places representing Malibu Boardriders.
They placed a close second to the local team in
the last Tandem World Championships held in
Australia in 1999. United Stuntwomen’s
Association now gives a yearly award, at the
“Call to the Wall” National Surfing Competition
hosted by Malibu Boasrdriders, named
“The Svetla Award. This award is given to
the Tandem woman surfer showing Grace,
Dignity and Sportsmanship in the ocean.
Unfortunately, Svetla was diagnosed with
brain tumor in 2000 and underwent the
surgeries and treatments to save her life.
She continued to work on a few films as her
condition did not inhibit her abilities until she
was in Australia working on the feature live
action film “Peter Pan”. That adventure was
cut short when her tumor returned with a
vengeance in the fall of 2002. She returned to
her home in Culver City, California in November
of that year and was cared for by her loving
husband, mother, sister, and close friends until
her peaceful death in her own bed on Sunday,
February 9, 2003. She will be missed by many.
Denise Lynne Roberts
Denise Lynne Roberts
Denise entered the stunt business in 1989 at the age of 28, and enjoyed a busy career until she was diagnosed with Adrenal Cancer in 1996. She was given 6 months to live, but
true to her stubborn character, she held on bravely for seven years, surviving 33 surgeries, 3 rounds of chemotherapy and one round of radiation. Her stunt sister, Spice Williams directed her toward alternative healing methods, which Denise claimed made a world of difference in her ability to 'give the good strong fight'. Her strong will was an inspiration to many all over the world. Her friends sent prayer chain emails out which reached thousands. Many strangers, who were also battling life threatening diseases, wrote to her thanking her for sharing her story and promoting courage, faith, and loving acceptance of God's will. Upon her departure from the stunt business Denise spent her final years writing her book and counseling terminally ill children.
Denise spent her last two years in Dallas, near her close friends and family, where she passed away March 22, 2003
Denise always repeated these
"When God closes a door, He opens another."
Maria, a native of California, was the youngest of seven children and was raised by her father after her mother passed away when Maria was only an infant.
After her father also died when she was 14, Maria began a modeling career at 15 and in to extra work at 17.
When Maria was 25 she was working as an extra on the T.V. show “Nightrider”. It was then, watching the stunts on that show, that she decided she wanted to do stunts. She
called her uncle, Robert Hoy, long time stunt man/actor, who put Maria in touch with legendary stunt man Paul Stader, who
well known for training and making
Maria continued to work on hundreds of Features, T.V. Shows, Commercials and print work, until 2004. Maria was diagnosed with a rare tumor, which caused major heart problems before it could be removed. In its wake Maria suffers from multiple heart related problems, can no longer work as a Stuntwoman, and in 2007 the Stuntwomen’s Foundation was honored to give her financial assistance.