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Deaf Stuntwoman Kitty O'Neil Dies at 72

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Stuntwoman and speed racer Kitty O’Neil died at the age of 72, according to The New York Times, on Friday. O’Neil, who was deaf, died of pneumonia. O’Neil crushed records in both high-speed driving and stunts for Hollywood movies and shows.

O’Neil lost her hearing when she was a few months old due to a high fever. Her life was the subject of the movie “Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neil Story” in 1979. She was portrayed by actress Stockard Channing, and played Channing’s stunt double.

O’Neil worked as a stuntwoman on multiple popular movies and TV shows, including “The Bionic Woman,” “Wonder Woman” and “The Blues Brothers.” While working as a stuntwoman, leaping off rooftops and helicopters, O’Neil battled cancer and had two operations.

In 1976, O’Neil set the record for the fastest land-speed for women. She traveled at an average of 512 mph in a rocket-powered, three-wheeled vehicle called The Motivator. Her record, 200 miles faster than the previous record, still stands today.

Fans reacted to her death on Twitter and shared condolences, including actress Marlee Matlin.


Photo via Twitter

Originally published: November 7, 2018
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