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Woodland Hills Woman Killed, 4 Hurt in Movie Stunt Accident

December 20, 1995| From Times Staff and Wire Reports

NAPLES, Fla. — A boat performing a stunt jump for a Disney comedy film hurtled off a ramp upside-down Tuesday and slammed into two other boats near a crowd of extras, killing a Woodland Hills woman working on the film and injuring four others, including her husband and his father.

Janet Wilder, 29, was struck and killed as she held the hand of her husband, Scott Wilder, one of a family of leading Hollywood stuntmen.

Scott Wilder was injured, along with his father, Glenn Wilder, and Tony Brubaker and Roy Farfel, all of Los Angeles. They were treated for minor injuries and released from Naples Community Hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Pat Lukes, a friend and neighbor of the Wilders, described them as an "absolutely inseparable" couple who had celebrated their third wedding anniversary earlier this month.

Janet Wilder, a former model, went on assignments with her husband and occasionally worked as an extra on his films, friends said.

"She was with the greatest group of stunt people in the business," said Chris Fletcher, a fellow stuntman and friend of the Wilders.

The scene for "Gone Fishin'," starring Joe Pesci and Danny Glover, was being filmed in the Big Cypress Swamp in the Florida Everglades. It required the boat to speed up a ramp, fly over a hedge of mangroves, land between two boats and stop in the water, said Sgt. Jimmy Snell of the Collier County Sheriff's Department.

Instead, the boat, carrying stunt doubles for Pesci and Glover, slid off to one side of the ramp and flipped upside-down, hitting the two boats, which then hit the extras and stunt performers standing nearby.

"Unfortunately . . . the guy driving the boat hit the plywood ramp on an angle," said witness Gary Beyrent, who was working as an extra on the set. "The boat rolled instead of slid."

Beyrent and another extra said they saw the stuntman for Glover dangling as the boat flipped off the ramp.

Beyrent said he and other extras had been concerned that they were in a dangerous position for Tuesday's shot.

"I was standing there, like everyone else, saying I think we're a little too close for this," he said.

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