Kitty O’Neil was a remarkable woman who achieved great success and wealth through her many accomplishments as a stuntwoman, daredevil, and speed racer. Born on March 24, 1946, in Corpus Christi, Texas, Kitty was deaf from birth due to an adverse reaction to a measles vaccine.
Despite her hearing impairment, Kitty was a determined and fearless person from an early age. She learned to communicate through sign language and lip reading and excelled in various sports, including diving and gymnastics. Her athletic abilities eventually led her to Hollywood, where she became a sought-after stuntwoman.
Over the course of her career, Kitty performed stunts in over 200 films and TV shows, including The Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, and Smokey and the Bandit II. She was known for performing dangerous stunts, such as high falls, car crashes, and fire burns, and she often doubled for famous actresses, such as Lynda Carter and Lindsay Wagner.
In addition to her work as a stuntwoman, Kitty also made a name for herself as a daredevil and speed racer. In 1976, she set a land-speed record for women by driving a rocket-powered vehicle at a speed of 512 mph. She also broke numerous other speed records throughout her career, including the water-speed record for women.
Kitty’s many accomplishments in the entertainment industry and as a speed racer led to her amassing a considerable amount of wealth. However, she was known for her humility and often used her wealth to support charitable causes, such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures.
Sadly, Kitty passed away on November 2, 2018, at the age of 72. However, her legacy as a trailblazing woman in the entertainment industry and as a fearless daredevil and speed racer lives on. She continues to inspire generations of young women to pursue their dreams and never let obstacles, such as a hearing impairment, hold them back.
Here is a timeline of some of the key events and accomplishments in the life of Kitty O’Neil:
- 1946: Kitty O’Neil is born on March 24 in Corpus Christi, Texas.
- 1950s-1960s: Kitty develops a love for sports and excels in diving, gymnastics, and other activities.
- 1970s: Kitty moves to Hollywood and begins working as a stuntwoman, performing dangerous stunts in films and TV shows.
- 1976: Kitty sets the land-speed record for women by driving a rocket-powered vehicle at a speed of 512 mph.
- 1977: Kitty doubles for Lindsay Wagner in the TV show The Bionic Woman and performs a high fall from a building that earns her a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
- 1978: Kitty breaks the water-speed record for women.
- 1980s: Kitty retires from stunt work and focuses on her career as a speed racer, breaking numerous records.
- 1990s-2010s: Kitty becomes an advocate for people with disabilities and a motivational speaker, sharing her story with others and inspiring them to overcome obstacles.
- 2018: Kitty passes away on November 2 at the age of 72, leaving behind a legacy as a trailblazing woman in the entertainment industry and as a fearless daredevil and speed racer.
5 Interesting Facts about Kitty O’Neil:
- Kitty was a stunt double for famous actresses such as Lynda Carter and Lindsay Wagner.
- She set the women’s land speed record in 1976, driving a rocket-powered car at a speed of 512 miles per hour.
- Despite being deaf, Kitty excelled in sports such as diving and gymnastics from a young age.
- She once fell 127 feet from a helicopter into an airbag for a film stunt, setting a record for the highest fall performed by a woman.
- In addition to her work as a stuntwoman and speed racer, Kitty was also a professional water skier and skydiver.
5 Quotes from Kitty O’Neil:
- “I never let my deafness prevent me from achieving my dreams.”
- “When you fall, you pick yourself up and try it again.”
- “Fear is just a state of mind. If you can control your mind, you can control your fear.”
- “I never saw my deafness as a disability. It was just part of who I was.”
- “I’m not a daredevil. I’m a professional stuntwoman.”