On the occasion of Kitty O’Neil’s 77th birth anniversary, Google marked the event with a captivating and artistic doodle that celebrated the life of this remarkable woman, who earned the title of the world’s fastest woman. March 24, 1946, marks the day of her birth, and from there, she went on to become a prominent American race car driver and stuntwoman, leaving an indelible mark on the entertainment industry as an iconic action figure.
In this article, we will delve into the incredible journey of Kitty O’Neil and explore her inspiring life story.
Kitty O’Neil was a woman who defied all odds and shattered stereotypes to become one of the most accomplished stuntwomen and racers of her time. Despite being born deaf, she never let her disability hold her back and went on to achieve numerous feats in Hollywood and the world of motorsports. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the life and journey of this inspiring woman.
Early Life and Challenges
Kitty O’Neil was born on March 24, 1946, in Corpus Christi, Texas, United States of America (USA). At the age of five months, she contracted measles, which left her completely deaf. Despite her disability, she was determined to live a normal life and attend regular schools. She learned to read lips and speak, and even played sports like softball and basketball in high school. However, it was her love for speed that would eventually lead her to pursue a career in racing and stunt work.
Kitty moved to California in the 1970s to pursue a career in stunt work. She quickly gained a reputation for being fearless and highly skilled, and was soon working as a stunt double for some of the biggest actresses in Hollywood. She performed dangerous stunts in movies and TV shows such as “Wonder Woman,” “The Bionic Woman,” and “The Blues Brothers,” among others. Her stunts included car chases, explosions, and high falls, and she often performed them without the use of safety equipment or padding.
While her work in Hollywood was impressive, it was Kitty’s achievements in the world of motorsports that truly set her apart. In 1976, she set a land-speed record for women by driving a rocket-powered car at a speed of 512 miles per hour. This broke the previous record set by Lee Breedlove in 1965. Kitty’s record stood for 27 years until it was broken in 2013 by driver Jessi Combs. In addition to her land-speed record, Kitty also set several water-speed records and competed in the prestigious Indianapolis 500 race.
Stunt Coordination and Hall of Fame
After retiring from racing and stunt work, Kitty continued to work in the entertainment industry as a stunt coordinator. She coordinated stunts for movies such as “Airport 1975” and “The Blues Brothers,” and also worked as a spokesperson for several companies, including Hertz Rent-A-Car. In 1999, she was inducted into the Stuntwoman’s Hall of Fame, which recognizes the contributions of women in the field of stunt work.
Legacy and Inspiration
Kitty O’Neil passed away on November 2, 2018, at the age of 72. However, her legacy continues to inspire people around the world. Her achievements as a stuntwoman and racer are a testament to her strength, determination, and fearlessness. She proved that disabilities are not limitations, and that anyone can achieve their dreams if they have the courage to pursue them. Her story serves as an inspiration to aspiring stunt performers and racers everywhere.
Kitty O’Neil was a trailblazer who defied the odds and achieved greatness in two male-dominated fields. Her work in Hollywood and motorsports helped pave the way for future generations of women in these industries. Despite facing numerous challenges and setbacks, she never lost her spirit of adventure and determination. She remains a true inspiration to anyone who dreams of overcoming obstacles and achieving their goals.