Kitty O'Neil: Google Doodle celebrates American stunt woman and deaf racer Kitty O'Neil

The 'world's fastest women' American stunt woman, world record breaker and deaf racer Kitty O'Neil is honoured in today’s Google Doodle, on what would have been her 77th birthday.

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Kitty O’Neil, the legendary stunt driver and record-breaking daredevil, paying tribute to the legendary race driver's daredevil career.

Here’s everything you need to know about today’s Doodle.

Kitty O’Neil Google Doodle

Today's Google Doodle honours Kitty O'NeillToday's Google Doodle honours Kitty O'Neill
Today's Google Doodle honours Kitty O'Neill

Today’s Google Doodle is illustrated by Washington DC-based, deaf guest artist Meeya Tjiang and pays tribute to Kitty O’Neil who was a legendary American stunt performer, daredevil, and rocket-powered vehicle driver who was deaf since childhood.

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When she was just a few months old, she contracted multiple diseases leading to a fever that left her deaf – with O’Neil learning to communicate through a number of different methods, but mainly using lip treading and speaking. She often referred to her deafness as an asset and after an early injury saw her end chances of becoming a diver, she began to experiment with high speed boats and motorbikes.

This love for action would see her perform a host of dangerous stunts, eventually leading to her television debut as a stunt double for films and TV series including The Bionic Woman (1976), Wonder Woman (1977-1979). She also featured in and 1980 classic The Blues Brothers and was the first woman to join Stunts Unlimited, an organization for Hollywood’s top stunt performers.

Google Doodle honours ‘fastest woman alive’

In 1976, O’Neil was crowned “the fastest woman alive” after driving across the Alvord Desert in a rocket-powered car rocket-powered car called the Motivator, surpassing the previous women’s land-speed record by almost 200 mph. She reached land speeds of 512.76 miles per hour.

Despite wanting to surpass male record, her sponsors did not allow her to break the overall record as it threatened the status quo, with legal action against the move failing, preventing O’Neil from ever trying to break the land record.

As well as the female land record, she also set records piloting jet-powered boats and rocket dragsters.

A biopic about O’Neil’s life, titled Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neil Story, was released in 1979.

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