‘Wonder Woman’ Stuntwoman Kitty O’Neil Passed Away At Age 72

by Joshua Raynor
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Kitty O’Neil — the stuntwoman for Lynda Carter on the original Wonder Woman show — has passed away.  She was 72.

According to a report by THR, O’Neil died last week at Eureka Community Hospital in Eureka, South Dakota. Ky Michaelson — a friend of O’Neil’s — reported O’Neill died of pneumonia after having recently suffered a heart attack.

In addition to being Carter’s stunt double, O’Neil worked on several movies in the late 1970s and early 1980s including Two-Minute Warning (1976), Damien: Omen II (1978), The Blues Brothers (1980), and Smokey and the Bandit II (1980).

O’Neil — who lost her hearing at the age of 4 months due to measles and smallpox — was a trailblazer in the stunts industry, completing one of the biggest stunts of the time in 1979. While filming Wonder Woman, O’Neil reportedly plunged headfirst 127 feet off the roof of the Valley Hilton in Sherman Oaks, California onto an airbag set up near the hotel pool.

O’Neil told The Washington Post after the event that if she hadn’t have hit the center of the bag, she would have been killed.

“She scared the heck out of me,” Michaelson told THR. “I never met a human being that had no fear.”

Outside of her stunt work, O’Neil was a daredevil of sorts, racing boats, dune buggies, and motorcycles. In 1976, the Texan broke the land-speed record for female drivers, tallying an average speed of 512.71 miles an hour while piloting a three-wheeled machine in Oregon.

Eventually, the stunt woman received her own Barbie doll and was the feature of a 1979 CBS telefilm named Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neil Story.

O’Neil had no children and wasn’t married at the time of her death. She had previously been linked to Burt Reynolds-collaborator Hal Needham and fellow stuntman Duffy Hambleton.


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