Terry Leonard staunchly believes, “if you hang on long enough during a tragedy,
it will open options down the road.” He should know, as an injury that derailed
his athletic career helped propel him into a career as a Lifetime Achievement
Award winning professional Stuntman.
Leonard was running track and playing football at the University of Wisconsin
Milwaukee, and was planning on trying out for US Olympic Team in the decathlon.
Wanting to face greater challenges to help prepare him, he called his childhood
friend from Wisconsin, Sam Antcliffe ’61, discussed options, and decided to
Terry hopped in his ’54 Oldsmobile convertible, drove to the Old Pueblo, and
arrived one rainy night, woke Sam at his home, then promptly slept on his couch.
Sam introduced him to Foggy Smith and some of the Kappa Sigmas. He became
a social member and repped the fraternity in some intramural track events, demolishing
other fraternities in the process.
After a conversation with Track Coach Carl Cooper ’40, Leonard was in and ran
track for Arizona for a year.
Brother Leonard competed in the Olympic Trials for the Tokyo Games, 1964. “I
was never good enough to make it, but am proud I was good enough to compete.”
An ankle sprain helped cut his plans short, and also caused him to be
dropped from a spot at L.A. Rams rookie camp that was to take place shortly after
the Olympic trials.
Leonard played in the Continental Football League, and was playing for the BC
Lions in Canada before an injury resulted in his release and the end of his career.
Staring at the walls and not sure what to do, he decided to call John Wayne’s
double, whom he had met working as an extra on the movie “McClintock” while
in college. After listening to what it was all about, he moved to California “and
A quick check at IMDB.com shows 125 titles spanning the last 50 years in which
he performed or coordinated stunts. He’s appeared in four movies with John
Wayne, “El Dorado,” “Rio Lobo,” “Big Jake,” “The Train Robbers.” He’s doubled
for Harrison Ford in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Cowboys and Aliens.” Other
credits include “Blazing Saddles,” “Apocalypse Now,” “Blues Brothers,” “48
Hours” and “Rush Hour.”
Some of his career highlights and awards include the highest fall in the world
before the airbag was invented. Was 1967, “Run Shadow Run,” unheralded film
out of 20th Century Fox, winning “Most Spectacular Stunt” award for “Romancing
the Stone,” A Golden Boot and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. He is
also particularly proud of a stunt in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in which he jumped
off a horse on to a moving track, and ends up getting dragged behind the truck by
his whip. “Stuntmen are happy to remain unknown and not get the attention, but
that one took on a life of its own and Harrison was a little jealous of the attention
I got for that one.”
Realizing again how injuries (he’s had more than you can count on your fingers)
might affect his career, Terry took over opportunity to further learn the craft and
now, in addition to performing and coordinating stunts, also does Second Unit
(action sequence) Direction.
Terry was officially initiated into Kappa Sigma while in Tucson filming “Tombstone”
Sons Matt and Malosi Leonard are already following in their father’s Golden Boot
footsteps, each with more than 50 titles under their belts, including “NCIS:LA”
and “Sons Of Anarchy.”
Brother Leonard is also a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association
and is a Team Roper. He enjoys his time riding.