Kitty O’Neil Biography: The Stuntwoman Who Defied All Odds

Kitty O’Neil Biography: The Stuntwoman Who Defied All Odds

Category Information
Full name Kitty Linn O’Neil
Birthdate March 24, 1946
Place of birth Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.
Death date November 2, 2018
Occupation Stuntwoman, racecar driver, and speed boat driver
Notable works The Bionic Woman (TV series), Smokey and the Bandit II
Achievements – Hold the women’s land-speed record for 27 years
– Set multiple speed records on land and water
– Performed stunts in over 50 films and TV shows


Kitty O’Neil Biography

Kitty O’Neil was an American stuntwoman and racer who defied all odds to become one of the most accomplished women in her field. Born on March 24, 1946, in Corpus Christi, Texas, O’Neil’s early life was fraught with challenges that would have broken even the strongest of individuals. However, she persevered and went on to achieve greatness through her sheer determination and unmatched skill.

Kitty O’Neil Education

Despite being born deaf, Kitty O’Neil refused to let her disability hold her back. She attended California State University, Northridge, where she studied sign language and lip reading. This education helped her communicate with others in a way that made her an invaluable asset on movie sets and racetracks.

Kitty O’Neil Professional Career

Kitty O’Neil began her career as a stuntwoman in the 1970s and quickly made a name for herself thanks to her fearlessness and skill. She performed stunts in movies such as “Smokey and the Bandit II,” “The Bionic Woman,” and “The Blues Brothers.” Her biggest achievement came in 1976 when she set a record for the fastest land speed by a woman, reaching a speed of 512 miles per hour.

In addition to her work in the film industry, O’Neil was also an accomplished racer. She competed in events such as the Indianapolis 500 and the Mint 400, setting records and winning awards along the way.

Kitty O’Neil Relation and Family

Kitty O’Neil was married to her husband, Duffy Hambleton, for over 40 years until his death in 2014. They did not have any children together, but O’Neil had a close relationship with her nieces and nephews.

Kitty O’Neil Net Worth

Kitty O’Neil’s net worth is estimated to be around $1 million, primarily from her work in the film industry and as a racer.

Kitty O’Neil Awards

Throughout her career, Kitty O’Neil received numerous awards for her achievements. In 1977, she won the Spirit of Ford Award for setting the land speed record. She was also inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2018.

Kitty O’Neil Husband

Kitty O’Neil was not married and did not have a husband. She was a private person and kept her personal life out of the public eye. Instead, she focused on her career as a stuntwoman and racer, where she achieved several notable accomplishments. She passed away in 2018 at the age of 72.

In conclusion, Kitty O’Neil was an inspiration to anyone who has faced adversity in their life. Her determination, skill, and fearlessness helped her achieve greatness in a male-dominated industry, proving that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. Her legacy will continue to inspire generations of women to pursue their dreams and defy all odds.

Kitty O’Neil Facts

Kitty O’Neil was a remarkable woman who achieved many incredible feats in her lifetime. Here are some interesting facts about her:

  1. Kitty O’Neil was born on March 24, 1946, in Corpus Christi, Texas.
  2. At the age of five months, she contracted measles, which left her completely deaf.
  3. By the time she was a teenager, Kitty had become an accomplished diver and was even offered a spot on the US Olympic diving team.
  4. However, she turned down the offer and instead pursued a career in modeling and stunt work.
  5. Kitty became one of the most sought-after stuntwomen in Hollywood during the 1970s and 1980s.
  6. She performed stunts in over 50 movies and TV shows, including “The Bionic Woman,” “Wonder Woman,” and “Smokey and the Bandit II.”
  7. Her most famous stunt was a 127-mph rocket-powered car jump across a dry lake bed in California, which set a women’s land speed record.
  8. She also set records for the fastest quarter-mile drag racing time by a woman and the fastest time for a woman in a jet-powered car.
  9. In addition to her stunt work, Kitty was also a competitive water skier and held multiple national titles.
  10. Despite her hearing impairment, Kitty was a courageous and determined woman who never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals.

Kitty O’Neil FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about Kitty Linn O’Neil:

  1. What inspired Kitty Linn O’Neil to become a stuntwoman?
  • According to her autobiography, “Kitty O’Neil’s Unlimited Horizons,” she was always interested in action and adventure from a young age. She also wanted to prove that being deaf did not limit her abilities.
  1. Did Kitty Linn O’Neil suffer any injuries during her stunt work?
  • Yes, she suffered many injuries throughout her career, including broken bones, burns, and concussions. She even lost her hearing completely in one ear due to an accident on the set of “The Bionic Woman.”
  1. What was Kitty O’Neil’s most dangerous stunt?
  • All of her stunts were dangerous in their own way, but one of the most risky was the rocket-powered car jump that set the women’s land speed record. The car almost crashed upon landing, which could have been catastrophic.
  1. Did Kitty Linn O’Neil receive any recognition for her achievements?
  • Yes, she received many awards and honors throughout her life, including induction into the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame and the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
  1. What happened to Kitty Linn O’Neil after her stunt career ended?
  • She continued to be active in sports and became a successful businesswoman, owning her own diving and salvage company. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2018 at the age of 72 due to pneumonia.
  1. Did Kitty Linn O’Neil ever perform stunts for male actors?
  • Yes, she did perform stunts for male actors as well, including for Sylvester Stallone in “Rhinestone” and Lee Majors in “The Bionic Woman.”
  1. Was Kitty Linn O’Neil the only deaf stuntwoman in Hollywood?
  • As far as we know, she was the only deaf stuntwoman working in Hollywood during her time. However, today there are other deaf and hard-of-hearing stunt performers in the industry.
  1. What kind of car did Kitty O’Neil use for her land speed record jump?
  • The rocket-powered car that Kitty used was a three-wheeled vehicle called the SMI Motivator.
  1. Did Kitty O’Neil have any advice for aspiring stunt performers?
  • In an interview with People magazine, she said, “You have to be highly motivated and highly trained. You can’t walk into this business off the street and expect to survive.”
  1. Was there a movie made about Kitty O’Neil’s life?
  • Not yet, but there have been talks of making a biopic about her incredible life and achievements.

Kitty O’Neil: The Fearless Stuntwoman Who Broke Barriers and Set Records