‘Chappaquiddick’ Actress’s Stunt Double Also From Luzerne County

April 2, 2018

There’s another local connection in the upcoming “Chappaquiddick” movie about the death of Forty Fort native Mary Jo Kopechne in Sen. Ted Kennedy’s car.

The stunt double for actress Kate Mara — who plays Kopechne — is also from the Wyoming Valley.

Heidi Pascoe, 45, a native of Hanover Twp., graduated from Hanover Area High School before going off to become a professional risk taker. She plays Kopechne in the scene when Kennedy’s car drives off a bridge and sinks.

“When they were making the film and they picked her, they thought it was such a coincidence Mary Jo was from the Wyoming Valley and Heidi was, too,” Pascoe’s mother, Shirley, said last week.

Pascoe has credited her participation with the dive team at Hanover Area for her daredevil career. She won a district championship and later was offered a diving scholarship to Millersville University. Her summer job was part of the “aqua circus” at the Dutch Wonderland amusement park, where she jumped from an 80-foot-high platform into a small pool with just 10 feet of water.

By age 24, she became the first woman to win the Acapulco Cliff Diving Championship in Mexico.

Upon moving to California, she started doing various stunts for film and television, which included jumping from high places, getting pushed through windows and being rammed by cars. She won an award for her work as stunt double for Anna Paquin in the “True Blood” television series. She’s been a double for actresses Reese Witherspoon and Amy Poehler.

Pascoe can’t speak about her current role until the “Chappaquiddick” movie comes out.

Her mother said Pascoe often keeps the family out of the loop because of the dangers of her job.

“You know she doesn’t tell me what she’s doing too often, because I worry about her,” Shirley Pascoe, 79, said. “She does a lot of stunts that are difficult.”

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