Silver Screen Stunts
Alum Dishes on Hollywood Career in New Bookby Liam Farrell | photos courtesy of Lisa Loving Dalton
Lisa Loving Dalton ’75 has been hit by multiple cars, floated as a corpse in a freezing river and even run from the 100-foot-tall Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Three decades as a stuntwoman and actress in film and television provided all sorts of opportunities to help bring magic to the screen in everything from “Splash” and “Ghostbusters” to “Melrose Place” and “ER.”
Dalton, who got her break by waiting tables of producers in New York City after earning her theatre degree at umd, now runs acting workshops. She recently published a collection of anecdotes in her book “Falling for the Stars: A Stunt Gal’s Tattle Tales” and shared a few of her favorites with Terp.
Support from the Stars
When Dalton was doubling for Meryl Streep in 1982’s “Still of the Night,” a member of the production crew asked Dalton to perform a stunt without a contract. After Dalton reached an agreement and fell from a fake cliff, a makeup artist told her that Streep helped make sure Dalton’s contract was finalized.
Five years later, Dalton doubled for Cher during a robbery shot in “Suspect,” and the singer-actress was incensed that Dalton was going to be replaced in the second part of the shoot by the girlfriend of a stunt coordinator’s acquaintance. Dalton had to talk her down from complaining to the director, afraid it might give Cher a difficult reputation in Hollywood.
“They both went out of their way to support me in very misogynistic environments,” Dalton says.
While playing a terrified patron during a restaurant shootout in the 1986 film “F/X,” Dalton learned the importance of not always sucking it up and being a team player.
The cocktail dress made for her was cut a little too low and without the proper sleeves to allow for elbow protection, but she decided to go ahead with the scene. By the time she landed on a pile of blown-out glass, her elbows weren’t the only things bare.
“It always makes me giggle,” she says.
Joining a Cult
In 1984, Dalton took on her most enduring role in the cult classic martial arts film “The Last Dragon," from legendary record producer and songwriter Berry Gordy.
Wearing five-inch, spiked ankle boots and a red kimono, camo jacket and headband, Dalton played part of the “Shogun of Harlem” gang. Thirty years later, she attended a standing-room-only showing of the movie in Times Square, with an audience speaking and singing along to every word.
“There’s something awful nice about that,” says Dalton.
“To me, that is what entertainment is all about.”
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