By Robert W. Welkos, Times Staff Writer
May 25, 2007
It is the start of the summer movie season, when theater screens are filled with all manner of mayhem, when Hollywood movie stars electrify audiences in high-speed car chases, elaborate fight sequences and deafening explosions that send bodies hurtling through the air.
But two stuntmen who provide such thrills and chills admit they are lucky to be alive today. While rehearsing a scene last October as Bruce Willis' stunt double in "Live Free or Die Hard," Larry Rippenkroeger fell from a fire escape three stories to the pavement below. He managed to break his fall at the last second, but the impact smashed his face and left him unconscious.
As Johnny Depp's stunt double, Tony Angelotti was rehearsing a scene in July 2005 that involved high work on "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" when he went into a free fall, the cabling jerked to a stop, and his legs were pulled apart like a wishbone and his pelvis nearly ripped apart. He was left hanging by his foot. Angelotti and Rippenkroeger are being honored at the sixth annual Taurus World Stunt Awards airing tonight at 10:30 on AMC. The show, often referred to as the stunt world's equivalent of the Oscars, was taped Sunday night at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood.
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