A Note from the Editor:
One of the things we like to do here at Two Drops of Ink, not only for readers but to help writers, is to post various genres of writing. This works as an example for aspiring writers, and it quenches a broader appeal for our audience which is made up of both readers and writers.
I caught up with Ellis by phone in Ohio during a break from setting up a wrestling show. He happily agreed to answer some questions.
In the world of WWE wrestling, and the famous Vince McMahon, there is one name that the wrestlers and McMahon can count on for setting up their entertaining, daring, and drama filled shows—Ellis Edwards. Ellis’s five-foot-eight, 160 lb. frame is deceptive. Those who know Ellis are very familiar with his energy, and his ability to “grab-it-and-growl” in his profession as a stuntman/stunt coordinator.
Ellis is a Georgia native and has been in the stunt business for 34 years. He still performs his own stunts and says, “I’ll keep doing ‘em till I know it’s too dangerous for me to do it right.” He got his first big break when he did a stunt at, then, Jim Brandon Honda in Mableton, Georgia. “I jumped everything he had in the showroom (motorcycles) from ramp to ramp,” said Ellis. “That was my doorway in.”
He went on to become quite famous and even played on Baywatch as Jonny Danger in 1994 (Season 5 Episode 16). He sold out stadiums like Atlanta’s Omni, did the “Cage of Death” rides at large venues, and has appeared in several magazines, advertisements, and in other movies. Ellis has become a friend of mine through some business dealings, and I asked him to let me interview him because although I knew him and had done business with him for over a decade, I knew very little about the intimate details of his work.
One thing that I was really curious about was his hidden fears concerning his stunts, so I asked him which stunt scared him the most. He told me a story about how he was tied to an elevator 16 floors up and the safety guy went to the bathroom, unbeknownst to Ellis. The elevator started to move downward, and he had to cut himself loose with a pocket knife to keep from being crushed to death.
His worst accident occurred on a motorcycle jump. He was set to jump 11 cars. In his early career, Ellis made a name for himself – and broke some records – jumping cars like his mentor Evel Knievel. On one particular jump, he didn’t quite make the landing ramp: “I hit the landing ramp coming down, I saw the bike was gonna hit me, so I pushed off and cleared the bike, but my internal injuries were pretty severe. I was on my back for three months after that one,” said Ellis.
Aside from working as a solo stuntman, Ellis works for Vince McMahon and WWE Wrestling as their stunt coordinator. He travels around America, and the world, setting up the weekly shows and big pay-per-view events. One of his best friends is Hulk Hogan, a wrestling giant in more ways than one.
Ellis is also famous for building hot rods and motorcycles. He owns Ellis Edwards Stunts and Motorsports. I asked him what his most famous build was, and he said it was the (Bruce Willis) El Camino car in the movie G.I Joe. He said his shop was filled with several cars and motorcycles that belong to famous people. He invited me to his shop to take a look in the near future; I will definitely take him up on that.
Ellis is a very personable guy with a down-to-Earth, Southern, neighborly attitude and will give the shirt off his back. I’ve known Ellis for over a decade, and I cannot reveal all that I’ve seen of his charitable nature, but I can attest to his love of giving back to his fans, friends, and to charity. When I asked him what kept him going—what motivated him, he said, “I want to give back because God has given me so much.”