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Leslie Hoffman and Dennis Madalone

Hoffman and Dennis Madalone on the set of Star Trek: Voyager

Leslie Hoffman (born 21 January) is a stuntwoman, actress, and stunt coordinator who worked between 1995 and 2001 as a regular stunt performer on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. In addition, Hoffman was an assistant stunt coordinator for Dennis Madalone and also responsible for the stunt safety on set.

Early life and career

1970s

Hoffman was born in Saranac Lake, New York and attended the Saranac Lake Central High School, where she played at the William Morris Playground and took ballet and gymnastic classes at the Sokol Gymnastic Training Camp and at the Fokine Ballet. She studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Herbert Berghof Studios in New York City, where F. Murray Abraham and Whoopi Goldberg also learned their profession. During her time at the studios she decided that acting was too slow for her and she needed more action, a decision which brought her into the world of stunts.

Hoffman, a great niece of composer Bernard Green, moved to Los Angeles in 1974, where she trained her skills, including high falls and fight techniques, at Paul Stader's gym in Santa Monica. The gym was a famous location in the stunt business and many stunt performers trained there, including Star Trek's Dick Durock, Bob Minor, and George Wilbur. Resettled in Los Angeles, her first union job was the thriller Two-Minute Warning in 1976. Her stunt performance on this film smoothed her the way into the Screen Actors Guild and joined Bobby Ore's Motion Picture Stunt Driving School.

The following years, Hoffman performed stunts in the television series Charlie's Angels and The Hardy Boys/ Nancy Drew Mysteries, doubled Cindy Williams in the comedy series Laverne & Shirley, Pamela Franklin in Fantasy Island, starring the late Ricardo Montalban, and portrayed a stunt nurse in the M*A*S*H episode The M*A*S*H Olympics (1977), which features David Ogden Stiers. On The Love Boat, Hoffman and another stunt double jumped 78' ft. together and landed a few feet apart from each other in the water. This is one of the stunts Hoffman found particularly dangerous. She appeared as a high school student in the 1977 horror film The Car in a stunt scene involving several horses [1], doubled actress Wendie Jo Sperber in Robert Zemeckis' comedy I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978), performed in Corey Allen's action film Avalanche (1978) on which she first worked together with Dennis Madalone, and the thriller The Fifth Floor (1978). Hoffman was as a stunt Indian on the mini series Centennial (1978), did a fire stunt on the television horror film Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell (1978), doubled Conchata Ferrell in the series B.J. and the Bear, and appeared in the science fiction thriller Meteor (1979).

While performing stunts on Steven Spielberg's 1979 war comedy 1941, Hoffman and another stuntman had "nearly been killed" during a stunt involving a motorcycle sidecar that had to jump into the back of a truck. A mechanical flaw flipped the sidecar, carrying herself on top and her partner in the sidecar, and sent them flying into the truck's bumper. She later recounted how, despite the incident, they had to return and do the stunt again, the following day. [2]

1980s

Leslie Hoffman and Tom Morga

Hoffman and Tom Morga in "Day of Honor"

During this time, Hoffman was the first "voted-in" member of the "Society of Professional Stuntwomen", a newly formed group of the top stuntwomen in the movie business, including Julie Ann Johnson, Jeannie Epper, May Boss, Regina Parton, Jean Coulter, Debbie Evans, Stevie Meyers, and Stephanie Epper. [3] In 1981 she was the first stuntwoman who was elected to the SAG Board of Directors as Chair of the National Stunt and Safety Committee and Co-Chair to the Young Performers Committee, where she served for two years. She also served on the AFTRA Local and National Board and was the first stuntwoman who joined Women in Film. It was also the time Hoffman started to do seminars and giving lectures in stunt safety and labor laws. She testified on SAG's behalf in Sacramento in child labor laws because of the Twilight Zone incident [4] and wrote the safety section in the AFTRA/ SAG Young Performers Handbook.

In the '80s, Hoffman was busy doing stunt work for film and television. She doubled actresses Jo McDonnell in the television comedy The Munsters' Revenge (1981), Wendie Jo Sperber in the comedy series Private Benjamin (1981-1983, co-starring Robert Mandan and Joel Brooks) and the comedy Stewardess School (1986), Doris Roberts in Remington Steele (1983-1987) and in the comedy Christmas Vacation (1989), Kellye Nakahara in the mystery comedy Clue (1985), and Anne Ramsey in Wes Craven's horror comedy Deadly Friend (1986).

Also in the '80s Hoffman worked on two movies she is probably best remembered for. In Wes Craven's horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), she portrayed Hoffman the School Hall Guard which was one of the incarnations of the main character, Freddy Krueger. Her lines, "No running in the hallway, Nancy!" were later replaced by Robert Englund's voice. [5] In the 1988 comedy The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, she doubled actress Jeannette Charles who portrayed Queen Elizabeth II. in this movie. Hoffman's stunt was, beside several punches, the legendary slide over the banquet table.

Other films she worked on, in these years, include the comedy The Nude Bomb (1980), as a terminal passenger during the plane crash in the comedy Airplane! (1980), the television drama Brave New World (1980), the comedy Die Laughing (1980), Brian De Palma's thriller Blow Out (1981), the comedy Protocol (1984), Amy Heckerling's comedy Johnny Dangerously (1985), the crime action Death Wish 3 (1985), the thriller Out of Bounds (1986), the horror comedy Saturday the 14th Strikes Back (1988), and the science fiction film Alien Nation (1988), which features fellow Trek stunt partner Tom Morga. Television work included the series Walking Tall (1981, with Jeff Lester), The Fall Guy, Strike Force (1982), Cassie & Co. (1982), The A-Team (starring Dwight Schultz and Melinda Culea), CHiPs (1983, with Robert Pine and Madlyn Rhue), and Rags to Riches (1987).

Star Trek

Security ensign 2372 on OPS

Hoffman's first appearance on Star Trek

Coonskin cap

Hoffman's coonskin cap

Hoffman calls herself a Trekkie. She saw every episode of The Original Series and is able to name every episode. In 1973 she visited the first Star Trek convention in New York City, took part in the trivia contest and became the third winner. The letter she received with her third place prize was signed by Richard Arnold.

Hoffman's first work on Star Trek was the Deep Space Nine season four opening episode, "The Way of the Warrior", in which she portrayed a Starfleet ensign and performed a stair fall in Ops. Also in this episode, her character answered "Thanks" when she was handed a phaser. This was a voice which was added in postproduction and was not Hoffman's.

Beside other parts as Starfleet officer and bar patron, she also worked as stunt double on several episodes. These included performing Mila's stair fall in the series' final episode, "What You Leave Behind".

On Voyager, Hoffman was the main stunt double for B'Elanna Torres actress Roxann Dawson throughout the last five seasons, performed her falls and fight scenes and was also in the orbital skydiving suit for the episode "Extreme Risk". For the episode "Remember", she was originally not planned to appear but Madalone said that a double for Dawson, who wanted to do her own stunt, was required. In the stunt, a full hit by stunt actor Scott Leva, Hoffman fell really hard on the ground and was protected by Ken Lesco, who avoided worse. She has also memories about her cliff stunt in the episode "Blood Fever". [6]

Beside her regular work on screen, Hoffman was the assistant stunt coordinator for Madalone, joined staff meetings and planned stunt sequences. Because of her background, she was also responsible for the stunt safety on set.

Hoffman provided her own coonskin cap to the production of the episode "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang", in which she also had a small appearance. Her cap was held by James Darren during the opening dialogue of the episode.

Two of Hoffman's costumes were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay; her costume as double for Roxann Dawson in the episode "Blood Fever" for US$470.00 [7] and her costume as double for Julianna McCarthy (Mila) in "What You Leave Behind" for US$130.50. [8]

Leslie Hoffman, New Voyages

Leslie Hoffman as a science crewmember

Between 2004 and 2008, Hoffman joined the production of the fan-made internet series Star Trek: New Voyages, on which she worked as stunt coordinator on the first five episodes - "Come What May", "In Harms Way", "To Serve All My Days", "World Enough and Time" and "Blood and Fire" Parts 1 & 2. She also coordinated the vignettes called "Center Seat".

In "In Harms Way", Hoffman portrayed a science crewmember on the bridge who hit the ground during an explosion. On "World Enough and Time", she served as assistant for George Takei and collaborated with fellow Trek stuntman Tom Morga, who worked as fencing coach on this episode. During her time on New Voyages, she also worked with fellow Trek alumni Walter Koenig, Grace Lee Whitney, Denise Crosby, Bill Blair, David Gerrold and Marc Scott Zicree.

More recently, Hoffman joined the production of Starship Farragut on which she works as stunt coordinator, beginning with the episode "A Rock and a Hard Place" in 2008. [9]

Later career

1990s

During her time on Star Trek, Hoffman also worked on several other projects. She performed stunts in the comedy The Misery Brothers (1995, under coordinators B.J. Davis and Ed Anders), the horror film The Prophecy (1995), the television series Deadly Games (1995, starring Christopher Lloyd), the action film For Life or Death (1995, along with Rick Avery), and the video game Maximum Surge (1996).

In 1996, she worked as stunt coordinator for the ABC Afterschool Specials episode Me and My Hormones, the directorial debut of Melissa Gilbert. She also portrayed a wrestler in this episode and acted alongside fellow DS9 co-star Courtney Peldon. The following year, she worked on several episodes of the drama series Melrose Place (1997) and doubled actress' Edie McClurg's stair fall. She appeared in the family series Step by Step (1997, with Michael Kagan) and the short drama Safe Journey (1999, with Scott Rinker), for which she also served as stunt coordinator. She was the stunt coordinator for the short film Mulligans! (1997) and performed stunts in the science fiction thriller Convict 762 (1997), the science fiction film Mars (1997), and the television drama Bella Mafia (1997).

In Wes Craven's horror hit Scream 2, she doubled actress Laurie Metcalf's fights and falls and, in the superhero comedy Mystery Men (1999), she worked as stunt driver and portrayed a "stunt granny".

2000s

Since 2000, Hoffman has appeared rarely on screen. She portrayed a casino patron in the Nikki episode I'll Kick Your Ass in 2001 and a dinner guest along with Spice Williams-Crosby in the comedy sequel The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000). On the latter production, she also worked as stunt double for actress Joan Collins.

More notably, Hoffman worked as stunt coordinator. Her credits include the comedy Ophelia Learns To Swim (2000, with Hilary Shepard), The Innocents Mission (2000, on which Tom Morga worked as stunt rigger), Marc Forster's drama Everything Put Together (2000), the short drama Never Land (2000, again along with Tom Morga), the documentary Daybreak Berlin (2001, with Diana Cignoni and Tom Morga), the short comedy Father Xmas (2001), the thriller Love Leprosy (2001), the comedy My Friend's Love Affair (2001), working as stunt rigger for the horror film Dead Above Ground (2002), and the short drama Dead Ballerina (2006).

Shortly before 8 August 2008, Leslie Hoffman, having been living in Los Angeles since 1974, was joined there by her nephew, Ritchie Hoffman, an actor himself. Following his move, Leslie Hoffman excitedly commented that she felt like she and her nephew were in "Hoffman: The Next Generation", excitedly implying that she was proud that her nephew was carrying on certain family traditions. [10]

Star Trek appearances

Stunt double appearances

As double for Roxann Dawson

(This list is currently incomplete.)

Other Trek connections

A list of Star Trek performers who appeared in the same productions as Hoffman.

External links

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