Evel Knievel: the life of the greatest stuntman
From an early age, Knievel was destined for stardom
Evel Knievel (real name Robert Craig Knievel) was born 17 October 1938 in Montana, US. When he was eight years old he attended a Joie Chitwood car thrill show, a performance that would inspire Knievel to pursue a career as the most famous daredevil in history.
In 1965 he completed his first real stunt; he attempted to jump over two mountain lions and a crate of rattlesnakes, but he didn’t jump far enough and landed on the crate of snakes. Over the next few decades he would build himself a reputation as a vehicle stuntman, attempting over 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps.
He became an overnight celebrity after ABC’S Wide World of Sports aired one of his biggest disasters. In 1967, Knievel attempted to jump 46 metres – the longest of his career – over the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, but fell short and crashed, suffering multiple fractures. More than ten years after his death, he continues to hold many world records, including the most broken bones in a lifetime – 433 in total!
Knievel became a pop culture icon; his failures were often more famous than his successful stunts