Motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel has died at age 69.
Knievel was a crafty star of the pre-cable TV age, when a single rare appearance on ABC’s Wide World of Sports would be seen by tens of millions. Nowadays kids in the X Games perform motorcycle jumps, spins and look-ma-no-hands shenanigans that beat anything Evel ever did. But Evel had the P.T. Barnum gene and knew how to milk a jump over 10 Greyhound busses for maximumum publicity, drama, and cash.
A spin through the obituary openers:
“Evel Knievel’s hard life killed him — it just took longer than he or anyone else might have expected.” – The Associated Press
“Evel Knievel died Friday after 69 years, which is more than twice as long as it by all rights should have taken him.” – Time
“Evel Knievel, the hard-living, death-defying adventurer who went from stealing motorcycles to riding them in a series of spectacular airborne stunts in the 1960s and ’70s that brought him worldwide fame as the quintessential daredevil performer…” – The New York Times
“Evel Knievel, who earned worldwide fame for his bone-shattering motorcycle stunts and star-spangled white jumpsuits…” – The Guardian
“Evel Knievel, the seemingly indestructible and undeniably fearless motorcycle daredevil who jumped over buses, sharks and the Snake River Canyon…” – Wired
So long, Evel. You sure made it out of Butte.