Home Cinema Kitty O’Neil Dies: Deaf ‘Bionic Woman’ Stuntwoman, Speed Racer Was 72

Kitty O’Neil Dies: Deaf ‘Bionic Woman’ Stuntwoman, Speed Racer Was 72

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Her work on the two iconic ’70s superhero series pictured above included standing in for Bionic Woman star Lindsay Wagner and Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter, bringing O’Neil considerable fame in a profession that typically keeps its practitioners out of the spotlight. Her popularity and poignant, powerful personal story led to the TV biopic.

In a 1977 TV special called Superstunt (pictured in the black & white photos above), O’Neil demonstrated a car crash and explosion.

In addition to performing stunts, O’Neil was a leading figure in speed racing, and in 1976 set the land speed record for women by driving a rocket-powered car through Oregon’s Alvord Desert. Her 512 mph record still stands. Other of O’Neil’s nearly two-dozen speed records include boating and water ski runs.

In addition to performing stunts, O’Neil was a leading figure in speed racing, and in 1976 set the land speed record for women by driving a rocket-powered car through Oregon’s Alvord Desert. Her 512 mph record still stands. Other of O’Neil’s nearly two-dozen speed records include boating and water ski runs.

A fever from measles, mumps and small pox caused the Corpus Christi-born O’Neil to lose her hearing at around four months old, prompting O’Neil’s mother Patsy O’Neil to found a school for the hearing-impaired. Kitty, according to the Times, learned to lip-read rather than use sign language.

O’Neil leaves no immediate survivors.

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