Jeannie Epper has been cited as one of the greatest stunt women who ever lived and Steven Spielberg called Jeannie “one of the greatest stunt coordinators” in the entertainment industry. She was always a regular on director Steven Spielberg’s productions.
Some of her more recent stunt work can be seen in the feature films like Catch Me if You Can (2002), The Fast and the Furious 2 (2001), The Italian Job (2003), I Heart Huckabees (2004), the Kill Bill series of films, War of the Worlds (2005), American Son (2008), The Book of Eli (2010) and more.
Jeannie Epper comes from a family of stunt professional. This includes her father, John Epper, and mother, Frances Epper, her sisters and brothers, and now, even her own children, all work in stunts. Jeannie was one of the first children to double child performers.
It took only getting shot off a moving horse (saddle fall stunt) at the age of 18 to show Jeannie that she had inherited a love for stunts from her family. However, it is her skills and her professionalism that have kept her working ever since and the same skill have allowed her to participate in daring stunts like jumping from the skid of a helicopter onto a moving train while doubling Polly Holiday in Stir Crazy (1980). She may have began working in westerns, but she soon learned to do car work and fistfights and began working in cops-and-robbers shows.
Jeannie Epper’s early career was defined by her role as the stunt double for Lynda Carter on Wonder Woman (1975-1979) the television show. She was also the double for Kathleen Turner in the harrowing mudslide scene in Romancing the Stone (1984), and for Kate Jackson in the TV series Charlie’s Angels (1976), as well as for stars like Cybill Shepherd, Diane Ladd, Linda Evans, Shirley MacLaine, and for Nancy Allen on the action classic Robocop (1987).
Jeannie Eppers was also an actress, but unlike stunts, one of her roles in the movie The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) made her very nervous. The role required she and her sisters to beat up her idol, Paul Newman, and this would make anyone nervous. She went on to act in 39 movies including Foxy Brown (1974), Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2001), Quarantine (2008), and the Hot Pursuit (2015).
A Champion for women working in the stunt industry, Jeannie Epper has improved the working conditions of stunt women by creating, along with twenty other stunt women, the Stuntwomen’s Association of Motion Pictures or SWAMP in 1968. Not only is she a past president of the Stuntwomen’s Association of Motion Pictures, but she is an honorary member of the Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures. Jeannie Epper’s career spans more than 5 decades and a pioneer in the stunt community, she has spent much of her time mentoring and inspiring the next generation of stuntwomen.
Jeannie Epper received 3 wins and 1 nomination for awards related to stunts. She was nominated by the Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture for work in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). She won the Faith Hubley ‘Web of Life’ Award from the High Fall Film Festival. In 1985 she was the winner of the Annual Stuntman Award for Most Spectacular Stunt (Feature Film) in Romancing the Stone (1984), and the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2007 World Taurus Stunt Awards.
Epper was recognized by Women in Film at their 1994 Crystal Awards for her dedication and outstanding work in the entertainment industry.
The Artemis Women in Action Film Festival 2019 honored Jeannie Epper with the Artemis Stunt Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding five-decade career as a stunt woman, stunt driver, stunt coordinator, and actress.