Ever heard of Evel Knievel?

Posted on December 30, 2012


”Ever heard of Evel Knievel?” James Bond asks Sheriff JW Pepper before the epic car stunt jump in ”The Man with Golden Gun.”
Well, ‘no’ frankly. I, born in Sweden 1979, had never heard this name before.
evel knievel
Evel Knievel (1938-2007) was an US stunt driver and daredevil, that became hughely popular from the early 60’s. He specialized in ramp to ramp jumps often over long lines of lorries. Comedian Don Rickles called him ”An American hero”, which was true to many.
He was born Robert Craig Knievel in Montana 1938, and displayed a talent for driving cycles and motorcycles at an early age. There were though a few incidents with the law in his youth but Knievel soon got his act together trying different trades to support his wife and children. In 1966 he became a professional stunt driver and daredevil, setting up shows in the USA.

He achieved national fame when he tried to jump across the fountain of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve 1967. He crashed when landing, broke forty bones and ended up in a coma for 29 days from a severe concussion. After recovering Knievel kept pushing himself to break records. As a result he broke quite a few bones as well. Numerous jumps ended in crashes and hospitalizations.

To his great audience he was a hero and an idol. He had the ability to enchant and thrill a crowd with his talent and guts. Evel Knievel was proud, flashy, cheeky and full of confidence. His nicknames were ‘King of the Daredevils’ and ‘Last of the Gladiators’. Following a failed and cancelled jump across a shark tank in 1977, Knievel retired from professional stunt jumping.

Read more about the life of Evel Knievel here, on his excellent website

Watch his most famous here (Youtube-clip)

Actor George Hamilton starred as daredevil Knievel in the 1971 film Evel Knievel.” Full movie here