South Dakota: Daredevil Kitty O’Neil has passed away at the age of 72 at her home in South Dakota. She was the stuntwoman who played LyndaCarter’s stunt double on 1970s TV series Wonder Woman.
Kitty O’Neil had succumbed to deafness at the age of just five months. It is believed her deafness played a huge part in her Hollywood success. Her deafness sharpened her other senses.
Kitty O’Neil also played stunt double
for Lindsay Wagner on The Bionic Woman.
She also appeared in Smokey, The Bandit II and The
Kitty O’Neil’s most daring stunt was jumping onto an inflatable air cushion from a 13 story building. She performed this stunt while playing double for Lynda Carter. She had told the Washington Post if she hadn’t hit the center she would have probably been killed.
Breaking her own daring stunt record she later jumped
from helicopter 180 feet high.
O’Neil’s was a success off-screen as well her love for aped racing let her win the land-speed record for women in 1976. It still stands today.
By travelling at an average of 512 mph in a rocket-powered vehicle called The Motivator got into the record books
She was also the first woman to join the Hollywood
stunt agency Stunts Unlimited.
Stockard Channing played her in a 1979 TV movie called Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neil Story, with O’Neil herself playing her stunt double.
She retired in the 1980s and moved to Eureka, South
Dakota, where she died of pneumonia on Friday.
In a 2015 interview, she said it had
“felt good” to be one of Hollywood’s stunt women, and that she was “not afraid of anything.”
1979 Washington Post
“I know I am deaf. But I am still normal. The way I look at it, being handicapped is not a defect. People say I can’t do anything. I say I can do anything I want.”