Kitty O’Neill, Wonder Woman double, deaf, and the first fastest woman on Earth. Kitty O’Neill, an American stuntwoman and car racer holds the women’s speed record until 2019. Google remembers ‘world’s fastest woman’ Kitty O’Neill.
Kitty O’Neill Biography
Through an illustration, the technology company paid tribute to the famous American acrobat on her 77th anniversary.
Google, as always, decided to pay tribute to the characters who have gone further in the history of humanity. This March 24, the American company chose to celebrate the 77th anniversary of Kitty O’Neill, the famous American acrobat who was crowned as the world’s fastest woman at the time.
Who Was Kitty O’Neill: Birth and Early Life
She was also the first woman to hold records while completing stunt work for the film industry. Kitty O’Neill, born in the Texas city of Corpus Christi in 1946, prepared to do whatever it took to compete in springboard jumps from platforms of three meters and 10 from her teens to her 70s. It was different.
She broke several women’s speed records, worked in the film industry, and was even recognized internationally as the double for Wonder Woman. Also, she held the women’s land speed record between 1976 and 2019, driving at 821 KMPH and living to tell about it.
Kitty O’Neill’s Early Life
Kitty Lynn O’Neill (March 24, 1946 – November 2, 2018) was an American stuntwoman and sprinter, known as the “world’s fastest woman”. A childhood illness left her deaf, and further illnesses in adulthood cut short her diving career. O’Neill’s career as a stuntman and race car driver led to a TV movie and an action-figure appearance. Her all-time land speed record for women stood as of 2019.
The daughter of a United States Army Air Force officer and a Cherokee woman, she lost her father in childhood. At only five months old, O’Neill was struck down by a series of ailments that caused her to lose her hearing.
As such, her mother taught her to read lips and pronounce sounds, and as a teenager, Kitty began competing in diving from a 10-meter platform and a 3-foot springboard.
Kitty won the Amateur Athletic Union Championships and trained with Sammy Lee in 1962. She wanted to try out for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, but a broken wrist and meningitis jeopardized her ability to walk and exhausted her options.
After recovering from meningitis, O’Neill focused on water skiing, scuba diving, skydiving and hang gliding. “Trampoline jumping wasn’t scary enough for me,” she said. In the 1970s, she underwent two cancer treatments when she was in her early twenties when she entered the world of racing after meeting stuntmen Hal Needham and Ron Hambleton, with whom she trained.
First woman to work for Stunts Unlimited
In 1976 she became the first woman to work for Stunts Unlimited, and soon appeared in such films as ‘The Bionic Woman‘, ‘Airport ’77’, ‘The Blues Brothers’ and ‘Smokey, and Bandit II’. Her work was so pioneering that in 1978 Mattel produced an action figure inspired by Kitty O’Neill.
In 1979, during the filming of an episode of Wonder Woman, O’Neill was hired to replace Jenny Epper, who used to be Linda Carter’s double, in a particularly difficult scene. This process allowed O’Neill to record the women’s 125-foot fall at the Valley Hilton in Sherman Oaks, California. She later broke her own record with a new jump of 54.9 meters from a helicopter. O’Neill attributed these achievements to her small size, only 1.60 m tall, and weighing 44 kg.
‘ In 1977 O’Neill broke another women’s water speed record at 442.6 kilometers per hour, which was added to her water ski record of 168.7 kilometers per hour in 1970.
The women’s automobile land speed record was set in 1976 in the Alvord Desert in southeastern Oregon. O’Neill was hired to pilot a hydrogen peroxide-powered jet trike called the SMI Motivator built by Bill Fredericks and break the women’s record. It reached an average speed of 825.1 Kmph.
Although she herself said she could have run more, they asked her not to exceed 643.7 kilometers per hour and she had to beat Hal Needham on the absolute record to be able to market a series of dolls inspired by this pilot. O’Neill’s exploits were captured in the film ‘Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neill Story’, but the pilot left Stunts and Speed in 1982 when colleagues died during the performance.
Kitty O’Neill on the big screen
In the 1970s, the young woman with an indigenous Cherokee mother and an Irish father already had a seminal role in the cinema of the time: she acted as a stunt double for action films and series including La Mujer Bionica (1976) and Wonder Woman (1976). attended as (1977–1979).
Thanks to her outstanding performance in filmmaking, he was able to be considered for the Stunts Unlimited organization, a club where the best stuntmen in Hollywood were.
Fastest woman in the world
In December 1976, Kitty was crowned the world’s fastest woman by breaking the world record for land speed for women. In a 48,000-horsepower rocket-powered vehicle, the athlete reached a speed of 512.70 mph in the Alvord Desert, thus improving the previous record by 200 mph.
This led to the release of the seminal film Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neill Story in 1979, which chronicles the heroic feat in Oregon.
Sadly, Kitty retired in 1986 and passed away on November 2, 2018, at the age of 72. Her life has been a source of inspiration for many women who have decided to enter the risky profession of stuntman and acrobatic sports.