When thinking about America’s most famous stunt people and daredevils, the first person that usually comes to mind is the legend Evil Knievel. But have you ever heard of Kitty O’Neil?
Kitty was an American racer, stuntwoman, and full-blown daredevil. Born in 1946 in Corpus Christi, Texas, Kitty was very sick as a baby.
She suffered from multiple illnesses at once, and all of the high fevers she lived through made her deaf. But did that stop her? No way!
Kitty loved various sports and hobbies at a young age, including swimming, diving, and playing the cello. In 1962, her family moved to California so she could train to dive in the Olympics with professional gold medalists. Unfortunately, not long after their move, she broke her wrist and contracted spinal meningitis.
Once Kitty had healed, she decided that she wanted to pursue something else, something more thrilling. So, in the 1970s, she got into racing.
It was like there was nothing Kitty wouldn’t try. She raced cars, boats, motorcycles, dune buggies, etc. She participated in events like the Baja 500 and Mint 400.
During her racing days, she met people who worked on film and TV as stuntmen. By the mid-1970s, she decided to give it a try herself.
Kitty became the first woman to work for Stunts Unlimited, which was the leading stunt agency at the time. She performed in big films like The Blues Brothers and The Bionic Woman.
Perhaps her most famous television stunt was when she set the women’s high-fall record on the set of an episode of Wonder Woman in 1979.
Sign up for Chip Chick’s newsletter and get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.