My name is Leslie Hoffman, and I've been a stuntwoman for over 35 years. You might not realize it, but you’ve probably seen me before, stunt doubling the Queen in The Naked Gun and B'Elanna Torres in Star Trek Voyager. I was also in Nightmare on Elm Street, as well as many other movies and shows.

These days, however, I find myself the victim of people in very high positions of power within the Hollywood Industry. They have denied my health coverage, and I was hoping that through reddit I could share my story.

In the 80s, I was on the SAG Board of Directors, where I advocated for stunt people who not being recognized by the Board. Even once my term was over, I continued to advocate for my fellow stunt people. This was apparently an act the Board of Directors wouldn't forget.

Skipping ahead to the present day, many years in the stunt business has left me with multiple injuries, including Post-Concussion Syndrome and all its effects (which has recently been in the news linked to the death of Football player Junior Seau). I applied for my health coverage through SAG, but they refused to cover me, refusing to acknowledge the PCS, despite the fact that I had been diagnosed as such by a doctor.

Now, I'm trying to get my story out there through reddit and the internet in the hopes that maybe someone can help me and others with injuries like mine get the rightful coverage we have earned.

So AMA, reddit, about my career as a stuntwoman, my injuries, or what Ricardo Montalban is like in person! After years of being an advocate for stunt people, I’m looking for someone who can help me now.

EDIT: For Proof! I am really me! I thought the personal pictures from set were enough, but here's something from right now: One with my Dog, and here I am with an old headshot!

EDIT #2 (At about 3:15 Pacific Time) - Be back in about 2 hours to answer more questions. Thanks so much for all the kind words so far!

Edit #3 - Back around. I've got a few good leads from this AMA that I hope can help my situation. I really appreciate it. Fire away with any more questions.

Comments: 839 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

ncfpoozer315 karma


stuntrek58 karma

Just edited with proof--had to get to a webcam!

NinjaDiscoJesus302 karma

Why did they refuse to cover you? I thought they were there for the actors?

stuntrek543 karma

Not true, in fact they are currently being investigated by the FBI and the Department of Labor for the embezzlement of funds.

Here is one of the many links.

I also was called in before the FBI and Department of Labor to testified as well.

crusoe353 karma

Its not embezzlement, its Hollywood Accounting!

stuntrek224 karma

LOL... you are correct : )

modus7 karma

I was on your side until that dog barked at me. Now I'm afraid of you.

stuntrek3 karma

Sorry about that. If you google about the FBI and the Department of Labor investigating the SAG Pension and Health Plan for embezzlement....I promise you there are other pages that will not bark at you. I promise, it is all out there to be read.

throwaway_lgbt6667 karma

What did the S.A.G have to say about all this as they are QUITE elite when i comes to their own considering th costs

stuntrek19 karma

The SAG Pension and Health Staff, Lawyers and Trustees made sure I was denied even before I had the chance to Appeal. That is why the FBI and the Department of Labor are investigating them.

My Claim is NOT even the original complaint. Mine is just one on many that is being investigated

underdabridge216 karma

Which of these have you accomplished?

  • fall from a tall building.
  • roll a brand-new car.
  • make Redford such a star.
  • jump an open drawbridge.
  • swing like Tarzan from a vine.
  • makes Eastwood look so fine.

stuntrek20 karma

fall from a tall building.


roll a brand-new car.


make Redford such a star.


jump an open drawbridge.


swing like Tarzan from a vine.

from a rope. does that count?

makes Eastwood look so fine.


MadWalrus201 karma

How do "A-List" actors generally regard stunt people?

Are you looked down upon for not being in the limelight, or are you respected because you're willing to do the dirty work that the actors can't. Or are you just another part of the crew?

And how much care is taken when deciding which stunt person should represent which actor? Is it a ballpark: same gender same hair colour, or is a lot of thought gone into these decisions.

stuntrek267 karma

Some Actors are proud to talk about their stunt doubles, while others will claim that they do all their own stunts...which is not true most of the time....just look at the credits at the end of a movie or look up the credits on IMDB on the movie and you just might find who the Actor's stunt double really is.

Interesting, second paragraph, I would say we are just part of the crew. We are Member of the same Actors Union but a lot of the time we work more with special effects and camera getting the shot done correctly.

Third paragraph, that all depends on the stunt coordinator. Some are very careful in who they hire to double an Actor, while others will hire another a stunt coordinator so that they too will get a job in return. Men sometimes still double women (all in the name of "safety") and worst of all there are still times that they will paint themselves "Black" and "steal" those jobs as well.

panzerschrekk20 karma

so it's true that jackie chan did all his own stunts?

stuntrek23 karma

No, he has had a stunt double I heard but I do not know the whole story

linh_nguyen8 karma

Men sometimes still double women (all in the name of "safety")

Do you feel this is also because of a lack of women in stunt work (is there actually?)?

stuntrek39 karma

There are more stuntwomen in the Business than there are jobs.

hokie47147 karma

Do you find it funny that Hollywood often puts in liberal ideals like universal health care and fair work practices all the time in their shows and movies, but when it comes down to it they are the worse offenders?

stuntrek95 karma

I could not have said it better. Thank you

Squalor-112 karma

How much would it cost to hire you to do all of my stunts?

I live a very dangerous life on the Internet.

stuntrek87 karma

: ) That depends, Are you Union? : )

RedOctShtandingBy100 karma

If a particular stunt seems too dangerous, do you refuse to do it or suggest different approaches?

stuntrek141 karma

Great question. Yes I have turned down work. A stunt person is NOT a daredevil. Like Actors, we must be able to perform over and over again until the Director gets the shot they want.

If I am already on the set, I can make suggestions, especially if I am the stunt coordinator.

pegbiter35 karma

What does a stunt coordinator do?

stuntrek92 karma

They hire the stunt people who perform in front of the camera or may help set up the stunt and help safety the performers

[deleted]83 karma

What was Leslie Nielsen like off camera? Did you get to talk to him at all? What was your favorite movie to work on and why?

stuntrek31 karma

He constantly had a joke or a gag. Known to carry a whoopie cushion at all times, no kidding!

narsty78 karma

sorry about your current situation

but, tell us about Ricardo Montalban, i see you also did the A Team, any storys ?

stuntrek214 karma

Ricardo was a true Gentleman. Always a kind word for EVERYONE. I work with him on Fantasy Island as well. The day I walked on the set of Naked Gun and HE came up to me and said Hello, Leslie. I could not believe he even remembered me or my name. One of a kind Renaissance Man and a Great Actor as well.

AssumeTheFetal63 karma

What drove you to that career? And how did you get started? Are there reputable schools to go to that garner more attention from the industry?

stuntrek123 karma

I originally wanted to be an Actress but did not find it rewarding enough for me....something was still missing. Then I discovered stunt work and it all came together.

I found a small gym in Santa Monica, CA where other young people wanted to become stunt people as well and practiced. Once I felt that I was ready, I started visiting movie sets letting Stunt Coordinators and Production Managers that I was available for stunt work. Stunt People do not have Agents and we must find our own work.

I have heard that there are stunt schools but much like acting schools, they can not promise you success in the Business.

english_major11 karma

So, you didn't go to stunt school? How do you feel about those out of work stunt professors?

stuntrek14 karma

I went to a gym to learn how to do stunts that I did not really know how to do. It really wasn't a school.

Stunts are like acting. More performers than there are jobs unfortunately

Scottieg9943 karma

What was the scariest stunt you performed?

stuntrek21 karma

I once had to jump off the Love Boat which was pretty nuts! Might not sound like the most intimidating stunt but I can assure you it was no walk in the park.

Dizzydubby40 karma

How did you find your way into this business?

stuntrek47 karma

Long hard work and the will to become a stuntwoman. I came from Northern New York only with the will to survive and to become a stuntwoman. Once out in California, I made phone calls, visited people that were willing to talk to me and NEVER GAVE UP : )

Dizzydubby32 karma

Just read your bio, I too saw the Universal Studio Tour and was amazed and inspired by it. I took gymnastic and contortionism classes for ~10 years after meeting the performers, but my body couldn't put up with the constant abuse. It is amazing that your body has allowed you to stay in such an intense career.

stuntrek32 karma

Thank you for your kind words and your interest to read up on me. : )

kablunk11 karma

So is it like you knew you wanted to be a stuntwoman since you were a kid?

stuntrek15 karma

Yes, exactly. I always knew I was going to be a performer : )

Fauropitotto10 karma

So how specifically did you find your way into this business once you got out to California?

Edit: Answered here

stuntrek17 karma

I was hired as a stuntwoman on the set of the movie Two Minute Warning

ptanaka32 karma

I would have figured Stunts would have their own union, frankly. You guys / gals do FAR more dangerous work than mere acting talent. I'm sorry for you. Folks I know in SAG typically have better luck getting SAG to assist them, so I'm surprissed your lead is not representing you well.

There has to be more to this, Leslie. I'm sorry.

stuntrek32 karma

Thank you for your kind thoughts but until the FBI and the Department of Labor finishes their investigation and exposes the corruption and embezzlement at the Health Plan, I doubt little will be done for any Union Member

pokered25 karma

How often are stunt people employed to do things that are a product of the actor or actress being afraid of something that's not particularly dangerous (say rappelling or top rope climbing) or unwilling to learn something reasonably simple (say riding a motorcycle)? Or do you guys pretty much stick to truly dangerous stuff?

stuntrek60 karma

Speaking for myself, I love being a Stuntwoman. Whether the job seemed not that dangerous or was indeed difficult. You must realize, there maybe medical reasons why an Actor might need a stunt double. Or just with the slightest chance that the Actor could risk being hurt...that could shut down production completely.

There is no shame in an Actor or Production Company saying "Get a stunt double"

Shearer921 karma

Can you give more detail about your injuries and specifically how you are being denied? Essentially you're alleging that you should receive Workers' Compensation benefits, which would fall to the insurer of your employer, not your employer. It may be worth it to them to deny you coverage, especially if something like your condition is not recognized by the law in California. Can you give more detail than just that your coverage has been denied?

stuntrek31 karma

I did have a Workers Comp Case that WAS settled in my favor. I also qualified for Social Security Disability. It is SAG Health, my own Union Health Plan that says when you are injured on the set that you then qualify for the "Occupational Disability Health Plan". It is my own Union that is denying me a Plan (or insurance) that has been paid into by my Employers, that is being denied to me

bettorworse16 karma

If your union is denying you benefits, then you need to go to the National Labor Relations Board and file a claim. They may not cover it (I'm not sure if they cover SAG employees - they probably do), but if they don't, they can refer you to the Federal Mediation Service or your State Labor Relations Board.

National Labor Relations Board - Los Angeles, CA

11150 West Olympic Boulevard – Suite 700

Los Angeles, CA 90064-1824

310 235-7351

stuntrek16 karma

Been there done that and even with proof in hand the NLRB was not interested, who then suggested another form the of Government Branch who said it was not their job either.

The FBI and the Department of Labor are doing the investigation on the corruption of SAG and their Pension and Health Plan.

Thank you for your suggestions though

caffeineTX18 karma

I got a concussion last year from being elbowed in the back of the head while doing a sport, had to deal with post concussion syndrome's effects of over sleeping, headaches, and lethargy for 6 months. Good luck and I hope this gets sorted out for you, I can't imagine how much worse your case of pcs is to your health from years of dealing with concussions as a result of being a stunt woman.

stuntrek18 karma

Thank you. Please take care of yourself. Post Concussion Syndrome though it has been around for a long time is only just now being realized by the medical community.

That is why I need to tell my story hoping that more people will realize the awful effects of PCS and that people in the Entertainment Industry are getting them as well.

djcack18 karma

Clue, Christmas Vaction, Johnny Dangerously, The were a big part of my childhood! What was the funniest moment you had on a set?

stuntrek21 karma

So many stories...I have many from Star Trek Deep Space Nine

[deleted]12 karma

As a Niner, I'm begging you: PLEASE SHARE ONE OR TWO!

Did it have to do with Armin Shimerman? That guy just looks like a lot of fun to be around.

stuntrek7 karma

Here's a funny story about DS9 in general. Avery Brooks is a super duper good guy and would always say "Hi." One day I hear his voice say "Hello Leslie." When I turn, I see a Klingon, and I'm wondering what's going on until I realized it was Avery in the episode where he was a Klingon. I said "Avery, you don't seem to be yourself today!"

Michael Dorn (Warf) was also known to wear hawaiian shirts on set, even while in full makeup. The image didn't quite mesh!

Gyuo6 karma

I love Ds9, could you share some?

stuntrek6 karma

One time in rehersal, Terry Ferrell shouted a line while chewing gum. The gum shot out and almost hit me!

stuntrek4 karma

Hmmm, clue stories? I don't have many, since I just played the body of the cook, but Tim Curry and Christopher Lloyd were two of the nicest guys to drop me on my head! Consumate professionals, but still fun and outgoing. An absolute joy to work with.

[deleted]15 karma

What kind of sports have a good crossover with stunt doubling skills? I'd imagine parkour or gymnastics but rock climbers are hench as h*ck too.

stuntrek24 karma

There are stunt people that come from all walks of life. Any athletic background is a plus; rodeo, skiing, snowboarding...of course gymnastics is great.

Maxion11 karma

According to our rules in this subreddit you must provide proof of your IAmA or it will be removed.

You must provide proof of your identity in the body of your post when you submit your IAmA

stuntrek6 karma

See the edit to the OP at 2:09

flynnzo10 karma

What were you like in high school? And how did you start doing stunts?

stuntrek9 karma

Finished High School and then I went to a couple of Acting Schools and finally out to California.

"Two Minute Warning" and the will to never give up

IAmAHat_AMAA9 karma

What is the favourite stunt you've done?

Who was the best actor to work with?

Also, could you provide some proof? A photo with you holding up a piece of paper saying reddit and the date would suffice.

stuntrek3 karma

What is the favourite stunt you've done?

The table slide from Naked Gun. Leslie Neilson was exactly as you'd picture him on set. Always a prankster. He told me "Leslie, that's a nice sounding name." I said, "Yes it is, Leslie"

Who was the best actor to work with?

Ricardo Montalban for sure

GeneralWarts7 karma

How has the business, or more specifically the stunts, changed over time? I noticed you've been in some big titles throughout your career: Charlies Angels(76), MASH(77), The A-Team(83), Christmas Vacation(89), Scream 2(97), and Mystery Men(99).

Or, if it's more relevant, the difference between TV and Film. Do you like one over the other?

stuntrek4 karma

It's not about the medium, it's the project and the people that make a show or movie enjoyable to work on.

Star Trek was always great to me, and as a Star Trek fan it was a dream come true. Remington Steele was another fantastic experience due to the people involved.

scrimsims4 karma

I am assuming you live in California. Don't employers have to cover employees or give them a stipend to buy insurance or are you considered an employee? I thought you got SAG if you worked a certain amount of hours? Did you have insurance and then they canceled it or did you just try to get it? I have been battling with health insurance for a few years now and it isn't fun. I had breast cancer 6 years ago so I cannot get insurance unless it is through a group plan. This meant when I lost my job I had to pay a ridiculous amount for COBRA for a year. My husband was finally able to add me to his plan at work and it was a big relief and I am finally able to freelance (I'm a programmer) instead of taking shitty jobs just for insurance. It sucks to have that hanging over your head constantly. I have been waiting anxiously to see what happens with the Affordable Health Care Act and the pre-exisitng condition part of it. I hope for both of our sakes it stands. Good luck!

stuntrek7 karma

Thank you. I qualified for the Occupational Disability Health Plan in SAG, they, the Staff and Trustees denied me this plan

GetItTogether4 karma

I just wanted to say I think it is amazing how many stuntpeople are needed for some movies. Some movies I sit there and go "Wait a minute, there were like, TWO STUNTS in that WHOLE movie. Why are there like 150 stuntmen??" There was one movie in particular... I can't think of it right now but I'll edit this post when I do...

So my question is, what is the stupidest stunt you've ever had to do? (By stupidest, I mean easiest!)

stuntrek9 karma

I was a "dead" body.... : )

mrking9444 karma

  • How has CGI affected your career? I would imagine that has to have a pretty major thing.

  • Have you met Zoe Bell? I think she's fantastic and that Tarantino did a great job with Deathproof even though that didn't seem to get as much attention as I thought it deserved.

  • What is your injury count at?

  • Can I get a ballpark figure of what your salary is?

Thanks for the time, good luck with some healthcare. I have none also but my job isn't nearly as dangerous as what you do. Edit format

stuntrek3 karma

CGI had not really come into being when I was doing stunts

I have never met Zoey but if you look at her IMDB, her career is extremely slow now

Bumps and bruises but those slight concussions have now become Post Concussion Syndrome, which is very bad for me

Varied from year to year but nothing outrageously huge. I was on of the lucky few that was able to get my mortgage modify the being on this year, so maybe I won't lose my home.

donnykerbatsos3 karma

What is the most bone chilling stunt you've done?

Also the coolest movie you were in?

stuntrek3 karma

Jumping off the Love Boat.

Nightmare on Elm Street

champagne_nutsack3 karma

Did I meet you and your husband at a Japanese restaurant in Dallas, about ten years ago? If it was you, I believe you were there for a dog show or something. Just wondering because I've never met anyone famous. Thanks!

stuntrek6 karma

Sorry, it must have been someone else. You are very welcome