R.I.P. Kitty O’Neil, stuntwoman who helped carry Lynda Carter’s Surprise Girl to life

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O’Neil on the set of Surprise Girl in 1979.
Photograph: Tom Nebbia (Getty Photos)

Kitty O’Neil, the American stuntwoman and racer recognized not just for being the world’s quickest lady, but additionally for bringing Lynda Carter’s portrayal of Surprise Girl to life because the actress’s stunt and physique double, has died, in keeping with The Hollywood Reporter. She was 72.

Born on March 24, 1946, O’Neil misplaced her listening to at simply 5 months previous as a result of a bout with measles, mumps, and smallpox that almost claimed her life. In accordance with O’Neil, it was her mom who taught her to “learn lips” as a way of communication. She later discovered to play the piano, in addition to different devices, however her achievements don’t cease there: In 1976, she turned the primary lady to affix prime company Stunts Limitless, for whom she carried out within the TV sequence The Bionic Girl (1976-1978), Jerry Jameson’s Airport (1977), John Landis’ The Blues Brothers (1980), and fellow stuntman Hal Needham’s Smokey and the Bandit II (1980). Nonetheless, her most notable stunt work was for the Surprise Girl sequence starring Lynda Carter that aired on ABC and CBS from 1975 – 1979.

O’Neil would go on to carry out over 120 stunts in each movie and tv between 1974 and 1980, together with Two-Minute Warning, Airport ‘77, September 30, 1955, Foes, The Mike Douglas Present, Damien: The Omen II, Foul Play, and Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neil Story, a 1979 TV film starring Stockard Channing primarily based on O’Neil’s personal life. She retired—each from stunt work and from her facet profession as a record-setting land and water racer—in 1982. In a 2015 interview, upon being requested if she is afraid in any respect throughout stunts, she replied, “I’m not afraid of something. Simply do it. It’s good whenever you end, [you know] you made it.”

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