Alexandra "Alex" Middendorf, who died at her home in Kensington on June 29, once told an interviewer: "I love doing collages. When I was in Europe, I was always cutting collages. I have about 50 collage notebooks. Instead of keeping a diary, I would do collages."
Mrs. Middendorf, 52, who had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), lived a life that itself resembled a vivid collage. She had been a stuntwoman, a circus performer, an actress, an artist and an illustrator. Most recently, she was an executive producer with the Learning Channel (TLC).
Her television work included "Junkyard Wars," a show featuring two teams of builders let loose in a junkyard and given a day to build a working vehicle. The show was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in 2001.
She also produced "Circumcision vs. AIDS in Africa," "Vietnam: The Soldiers' Story" and 10 episodes of TLC's "Great Books" series.
She was known not only for her exhaustive research, but also for doing whatever necessary to make a project work. Once, former colleague Kathryn Davidov recalled, a producer pitching a show about wolverines brought one of the stocky, ferocious carnivores to Washington.
Because no hotel was eager to put the creature up for the night, Mrs. Middendorf took it home with her and even took it on walks in her neighborhood.
Alexandra Lewis Middendorf was born in East Orange, N.J., and moved to Washington in 1970 to attend George Washington University and the Corcoran College of Art and Design.
In 1974, she moved to Paris to study theater with Jacques Lecoq, mime with Etienne Decroux and circus arts with Annie Fratellini and Pierre Etaix.
For her first job, she rode a horse bareback with the Circo Americano, a European circus. She also had bit parts in films, including the James Bond thriller "Moonraker" (1979). She played one of the gorgeous girls in gold lame dresses who helped direct the moon launch.
"I gave the countdown for the Moonraker blastoff," she told The Washington Post in 1983. She also served as the stand-in for Jessica Harper in Woody Allen's "Stardust Memories" (1980).
She returned to the United States in 1981, living briefly in New York City before beginning a career as an illustrator and artist. Her clients included The Post, Washingtonian magazine and the New Republic.
She once explained how she created an image of a burning plane for a New Republic cover story on Soviet warplanes' downing of Korean Airlines Flight 007.
To get the image she wanted, she attached felt to a toy plane, suspended it from a bent coat hanger, doused the felt with lighter fluid and let it burn in front of a dark backdrop. She repeated the process several times so the photographer could capture images of the plane in several stages of burning.
After taking time off for the birth of her two children, she returned to work as an illustrator at National Geographic magazine and developed an interest in documentary filmmaking. She worked as an associate producer in the natural history unit before moving to TLC in 1996.
Survivors include her husband, Chris Middendorf, and their children, Jordan Middendorf and Gabriel Middendorf, all of Kensington; her parents, Lawrence and Nancy Lewis of Marathon, Fla.; three brothers; and a sister.
For the Learning Channel, Alexandra Middendorf produced "Junkyard Wars" and other TV programs.