A recent Google Doodle celebrated Kitty O’Neil 77th birthday on March 24, 2023. Kitty O’Neil was a stuntwoman and racer who was born on March 24, 1946, and passed away on November 2, 2018. She was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA.
In the early 1970s, O’Neil began her career as a stuntwoman and soon became known for her willingness to execute dangerous stunts.
She did stunts in a number of well-known films and television programs, including “The Bionic Woman,” “Wonder Woman,” and “The Blues Brothers.” She was also a successful race car driver, establishing a female land speed record in 1976 with a rocket-powered vehicle at 618 miles per hour.
O’Neil was partially deaf as a child due to a case of measles, but this did not deter her from pursuing her interests. In fact, it may have aided her stunt work by allowing her to disregard distractions and concentrate on the task at hand.
O’Neil came to Hollywood in the late 1960s and began working as a stuntwoman. She quickly rose to prominence in the industry due to her fearlessness and willingness to attempt risky stunts. Her most famous stunt work as a stuntwoman included doubling for actress Lindsay Wagner in “The Bionic Woman” and a high-speed car chase in “Smokey and the Bandit II.”
O’Neil also worked as a stunt planner and as the opening ceremony coordinator for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. She also raced and established many land-speed records, including a women’s land-speed record of 512 miles per hour in a rocket-powered car.
She also became an advocate for the deaf and hard-of-hearing population, serving on the World Deaf Cinema Festival’s board of directors.
O’Neil faced numerous challenges throughout her work, but she never let her deafness hold her back. She was a trailblazer for women in the stunt business, and her determination and fearlessness inspired many people.
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