R.I.P. Kitty O'Neil, Wonder Woman stunt double once dubbed ''the fastest woman in the world''
The widely admired stunt performer passed away at the age of 72.
Image: The Everett Collection
On the set of Wonder Woman, Kitty O'Neil was called in for a very special job. Lynda Carter's stunt double Jeannie Epper was trained to do everything but the jumps. She could handle the small stuff, but for the leaps and bounds that Diana Prince took again and again, they needed someone who could handle anything. That's why O'Neil was summoned in 1979 to dive off the top of a hotel. To veiwers, it was sensational television, but to the famous daredevil? Well, that was just Kitty stuff.
O'Neil was born in 1946 completely deaf. History shows that never slowed her down, as she became a noted racecar driver setting landspeed records. She also raced around on speed boats and motorcycles, perpetually taking her daredevil nature to new extremes. It wouldn't take long for her to take these aspirations to new heights, diving out of helicopters and leaping off buildings like a real-life Wonder Woman. Her stunts eventually drove her to get behind the wheel of a rocket car, taking it to 600 mph and becoming "the world's fastest woman."
In TV and movies, O'Neil was a well-known stunt performer, showing up in The Bionic Woman, The Blues Brothers and many more. In 1979, the actress Stockard Channing was cast to tell her story in the bio-pic Silent Victory: The Kitty O'Neil Story. On Nov. 2, the widely admired stunt performer Kitty O'Neil passed away at the age of 72.