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Terry Leonard almost died filming The Legend of the Lone Ranger

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Jul 03, 2013 | 11:01am EDT

Celebrated stuntman Terry Leonard almost died while shooting 1981 epic The Legend Of The Lone Ranger after he was trampled by a stampede of horses. During the second week of filming in America's Monument Valley, the star made it his mission to try and top Yakima Canutt's death-defying scene in John Ford's 1939 Stagecoach, in which the stuntman was almost crushed by a speeding wagon and six horses after a terrible fall. Leonard was convinced Canutt passed through the wheels and hooves of death too quickly for viewers to really appreciate the manoeuvre, so he attempted to drag out a similar sequence in the Klinton Spilsbury Western - however his decision had near-fatal consequences. The actor, now 73, tells CNN.com, "The longer you stay under 'em, it's like putting more bullets in the gun when you're playing Russian roulette. I got underneath there, and I said, 'What am I doing here?' I got stepped on and the two-inch thick wheel on the right-side of the coach ran over my leg. "I was laying there in the middle of Monument Valley, and I thought I'd cut my legs off. I was scared to look down to see where my legs might have been. Had I come out head first, it would've killed me." Leonard was air-lifted to hospital after the accident, forcing director William A. Fraker to include the star's first and only take in the final cut of the film, and he adds, "Going under that coach with six horses is probably one of the wildest things I've ever done - and I've made a living doing some pretty interesting things." Leonard is keen to see what the stuntmen involved in the new Lone Ranger movie pulled off now that the Johnny Depp film has hit cinemas in America.

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