Kitty O’Neil — the stuntwoman from Lynda Carter’s original “Wonder Woman” show — has passed away at the age of 72. O’Neil died last Friday at Eureka Community Hospital in Eureka, South Dakota, according to a report by THR
Ky Michaelson — a friend of O’Neil’s — reported O’Neill died of pneumonia after having recently suffered a heart attack.
More than just 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 four months due to measles and smallpox — was a trailblazing Hollywood stuntwoman, daredevil and protege of Hal Needham.
She set a land-speed record as the fastest woman driver ever and accomplished her most famous Hollywood stunt in 1979 when she dressed as Wonder Woman and plunged headfirst 127 feet from atop the Valley Hilton in Sherman Oaks onto an inflatable air bag set up on the hotel’s pool deck.
“If I hadn’t hit the center of the bag, I probably would have been killed,” O’Neil told The Washington Post in 1979.
Outside of her stunt work, O’Neil loved 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.
O’Neil gained so much recognition that she 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 no survivors at the time of her death. She had previously been romantically involved with Needham and another stuntman, Duffy Hambleton.
By: Maytinee Kramer