Fall Girl: Breaking the Stunt World's Glass Ceiling
Most movie fans don’t know the name Martha Crawford Cantarini, although they’ve most likely seen her astride a horse performing some daring, breakneck stunt in some Hollywood action scene from the 1940s and ’50s.
During her stint as regular stunt double at MGM, Cantarini stood in for such well-known actors as Eleanor Parker, Ann Baxter, Claudette Colbert, Lana Turner, Debra Padget, Carol Baker and Shirley MacLaine. And in a pinch, she even passed on screen in long stunt shots for such macho men as Charlton Heston, Ronald Reagan and Clark Gable.
Cantarini’s colorful career – one that earned her entry into the Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame – is detailed in a new autobiography titled “Fall Girl: My Life as a Western Stunt Double” (McFarland, $35), co-written with Chrystopher J. Spicer and due out in April.
Cantarini, who performed under the name Martha Crawford, was only the third woman to be honored with the Golden Boot Award, known in the trade as the “Western Oscar.” Her resume includes appearances in films ranging from Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” to the epic Western “The Big Country” to the family favorite “My Friend Flicka.”
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