kitty o'neil
NameKitty O’Neil
BornMarch 24, 1946
BirthplaceCorpus Christi, Texas, USA
Height5′ 3″ (1.6 m)
SpouseThomas Allen Justice (14 June 1980 – ?) (divorced)
Duffy Hambleton (1972 – ?) (divorced)
John D. Piazza (15 April 1967 – January 1968) (divorced)
OccupationStuntwoman, race car driver.
Death2nd November 2018
Place of deathEureka, South Dakota, USA
Net worthBetween $1 million – $5 million

In 1976, Kitty O’Neil set the all-time land speed record for women driving a three-wheeled rocket car powered by hydrogen peroxide, reaching an average speed of 825.127 kmph, with a top speed of 999 kmph. This earned her the title of “the fastest woman in the world”. She also set a women’s high fall record of 127 feet (39 m) while performing as a stuntwoman on the 1979 episode of the television series Wonder Woman, which she would later break.

Early life

Kitty O’Neil was an American stuntwoman and actress who was born in Texas in 1946. She became deaf at a young age due to her contracting multiple illnesses. Despite this, she became one of Hollywood’s most renowned stunt drivers and performers, appearing as a stunt double in various movies and shows.

Her father was an officer in the United States Army Air Forces. He died during Kitty’s childhood in a plane crash. Her mother’s name was Patsy Compton O’Neil. She was the reason Kitty learned to lip-read after losing her hearing. Her mother eventually became a speech therapist and co-founder of a school for visually impaired students.

As a teenager, Kitty became a competitive 10-meter platform diver and 3-meter springboard diver, winning Amateur Athletic Union diving championships. She trained beginning in 1962 with diving coach Sammy Lee. Before trying out for the 1964 Olympics, she broke her wrist and contracted spinal meningitis, jeopardizing her ability to walk and ending her bid for a spot on the Olympic diving team.
He competed in the 100 m backstroke and 100 m freestyle at the 1965 Summer Olympics for the Deaf. After recovering from meningitis, he lost interest in scuba diving and took up water skiing, scuba diving, skydiving, and hang gliding, stating that diving “didn’t scare me enough”.


kitty o'neil

Kitty began her career as a stunt double for movies in the 1970s like The Bionic Woman and Wonder Woman. Additionally, she became the first woman to join Stunts Unlimited, an organization for the best stuntmen in Hollywood.

By 1970, O’Neil had begun racing on water and land, participating in the Baja 500 and Mint 400. She met stuntmen Hal Needham and Ron Hambleton while racing motorcycles, and lived with Hambleton, leaving racing for a while. In the mid-1970s, she began working as a stuntman, training with Needham, Hambleton and Dar Robinson.

He later broke his record with a 180-foot (55 m) fall from a helicopter. In 1977, O’Neil set a women’s water speed record of 275 miles per hour (443 km/h), and she held a 1970 women’s water skiing record of 104.85 miles per hour.

He (Duffy Hambleton, with whom she began her relationship) accompanied her to the hospital and was unexpectedly put in the position to make medical decisions that allowed Kitty’s two severed fingers to be reattached in a curved position for four hours of surgery. The therapy that followed allowed full function of her left hand, so complete that she Kitty was able to play the piano again.

Duffy and Kitty lived on a ten-acre citrus farm. He worked with her daily with voice modulation. Kitty would touch her throat and feel her normal vocal vibrations and then match them using her own voice. Her constant goal was to reduce the high pitch that characterizes deaf speech. It was Duffy who introduced Kitty to the world of movie stunts. Stunts Unlimited, an organization of Hollywood’s top stuntmen, accepted Kitty O’Neil as a member in 1976. She was the first woman to receive such an honor.

Kitty retired in 1986, moving from Elk River, Minnesota, USA in 1993 to Eureka, South Dakota, USA, where she lives with her long-time partner, Raymond Waid. When asked why she withdrew, she said it wasn’t out of fear, but because two friends had died while performing stunts. Why Eureka? Kitty loves the peace she feels in her house overlooking Lake Eureka.

Kitty has dedicated much of her time to supporting the efforts of the American Cancer Society in the battle against breast cancer. As she is not a victim of the disease, Kitty volunteers her time and image to further the cause and encourages women to get screenings and mammograms every year after the age of forty.

How did Neil end up becoming a stuntman?

Neil joined a swim team when he was twelve years old, which eventually developed his interest in scuba diving. He, too, won a gold medal in place of a fill-in driver who didn’t show up. Six months after this event, he won the AAU Southwest District youth meet. In 1962, his family moved to Anaheim, California, USA, so that a nationally recognized driving coach, Sammy Lee, would train Neil.

Overcoming the challenges

All the hardships that Neil faced since his childhood did not stop him from achieving greatness. In 1976, she was awarded the honorable title of “fastest woman alive” for breaking previous records for rocket-powered car drivers. Aside from this, she set a record for a woman falling 127 feet in her performance as a stunt double in an episode of the Wonder Woman series. Her story is an inspiration to many. In 1979, the biopic of her, Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neil Story, was released.

Land speed record

kitty o'neil

On December 6, 1976, in the Alvord Desert of southeastern Oregon, O’Neil set the land speed record for female drivers. She piloted a $350,000 (equivalent to $1.7 million in 2021) three-wheeled hydrogen peroxide rocket car built by Bill Fredrick called the “SMI Motivator”. She achieved an average speed of 512.710 mph (825.127 km/h), with a top speed of 621 miles per hour (999 km/h).

O’Neil’s racing reportedly used 60% of the available thrust, and O’Neil estimated that she could have exceeded 700 miles per hour (1,100 km/h) at full power.

77th anniversary of the birth of the late Kitty O’Neil

Google Doodle: Google commemorated Kitty O’Neil, a famous American stuntwoman and actress who was deaf from a young age, on her 77th birthday with a doodle showing her in a yellow jumpsuit. She later became one of the most famous stunt drivers in Hollywood. Google celebrated the 77th anniversary of Kitty O’Neil’s birth with a doodle depicting her in a yellow jumpsuit. Despite being deaf since childhood, she became a renowned stunt driver in Hollywood and held the all-time women’s land speed record until 2019.


He was a racing driver.
O’Neil was cremated. His ashes were scattered at an undisclosed location.
She and Jeannie Epper were Lynda Carter’s stunt doubles in numerous episodes of Wonder Woman (1975). O’Neil was also a stunt double for Lindsay Wagner in several episodes of The Bionic Woman (1976).


O’Neil walked away from stunt and speed work in 1982 after fellow stunt performers of hers were killed while performing. She moved to Minneapolis with Michaelson, and eventually moved to Eureka, South Dakota, with Raymond Wald. By the time she retired, O’Neil had set 22 land and water speed records.

She died on November 2, 2018 of pneumonia in Eureka, South Dakota, at age 72. In 2019, she appeared in the In Memoriam segment at the Oscars.


What is Kitty O Neil known for?
Kitty Linn O’Neil (Corpus Christi, March 24, 1946 – Eureka, November 2, 2018) was an American diver, stuntwoman, actress, and competitive auto racer, often called “the fastest woman in the world.” for their various speeds. records. Her all-time land speed record for women stood until 2019.

When did Kitty or Neil go deaf?
As a child, she contracted smallpox and became deaf. But that didn’t stop her from becoming one of her best stunt performers. In 1979, O’Neil told the Washington Post that she remained normal despite her deafness.

How old is Kitty O’Neil?
72 years (1946-2018)

Why is Kitty O Neil important to the deaf community?
Kitty ended up breaking the women’s land speed record in a three-wheeled rocket car called the SMI Motivator in 1976. Her speed averaged over 500 mph and peaked at 618 mph. Kitty demonstrated that her deafness did not hinder her abilities and claimed that it actually helped her focus.

What are some fun facts about Kitty O Neil?
In 1976, O’Neil was asked to drive a rocket-powered three-wheeler on a track in the Alvord desert (southeastern Oregon). She took the car to 618 miles per hour. The round trip of her averaged 512.7 miles per hour. This surpassed the previous land speed record for women by approximately 200 mph.

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By Aditya

Hi, I’m Aditya Sharma, a professional blogger from Gurgaon, India and I launched this blog called aadityacademy on July 2021. is a mechanical Project-oriented platform run by Aditya sharma and I got the motivation to start aadityacademy blog after seeing less technical education information available on google.

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