Monica Staggs (1970–)
Monica Staggs is an actress best known for her work as a stunt double in numerous films and television shows.
Monica Ann Staggs was born on February 24, 1970, in Boulder, Colorado, to Nova Staggs and Thomas Staggs. She has one sister. Staggs spent most of her youth in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) and graduated from Sylvan Hills High School in 1988. She then did work in the drama and English departments at both the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, as well as attending the University of Central Arkansas in Conway (Faulkner County) for a time. Without completing a degree, in 1996, she took a job as a stand-in for actress Barbara Bakke in the low-budget gangster film Shelter, then being filmed in Little Rock (Pulaski County). After she volunteered to perform in a scene that, unbeknownst to her, involved stunt work, her work caught the attention of one of the film’s stuntmen, Gary Wayton, who hired her for a film on which he was the stunt coordinator. (She married Gary Wayton in 2010, though they divorced in 2018 after being separated for several years.)
After serving as the stunt double for Sheryl Lee in Angel’s Dance, Staggs moved to California to begin a career in stunts. She has appeared in more than 100 films and television shows, including CSI, Dexter, True Blood, Crash, Without a Trace, Star Trek: Insurrection, Star Trek: Voyager, Kill Bill, Vol. 1 and Kill Bill, Vol. 2, White Oleander, and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Staggs has served as a stunt double for many Hollywood figures, including Sandra Bullock, Charlize Theron, Sigourney Weaver, Daryl Hannah, Jeri Ryan, and Rebecca Romijn; she also doubled for Angelina Jolie on the music video for U2’s “Elevation.” She also has worked for some of Hollywood’s leading directors, including Quentin Tarantino. In 2005, Staggs and stunt legend Zoe Bell shared the award for both Best Fight and Best Stuntwoman at the Taurus World Stunt Awards. Staggs was part of the team nominated for the Screen Actors Guild’s Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble for the 2011 film Transformers: Dark of the Moon. She has also served as a stunt coordinator for a number of films and TV shows.
Her “stunt profile” includes the following specialties: bicycle, car, fire, horse/animal, martial arts, rollerblades, fights, precision driving, and high-performance vehicular stunts; she is also certified in scuba diving. The stunt work, however, has taken a toll over the years, giving her a cracked skull, rib fractures, and concussions. She sought other opportunities, such as serving as a student stunt coordinator, as well as pursuing regular acting roles and writing screenplays. For example, Staggs has an acting role in Quentin Taratino’s upcoming film Once upon a Time in Hollywood.
For additional information:
Franco, Cheree. “Starring Monica Staggs, as ‘The Death Doll.’” Arkansas Times, July 11, 2012. Online at https://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/starring-monica-staggs-as-the-death-doll/Content?oid=2334375 (accessed September 15, 2017).
Gregory, Mollie. Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2015.
“Monica Staggs.” Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0821400/ (accessed September 15, 2017).
William H. Pruden III
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