Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel, Jr.: 1938-2007

Evel Knievel is dead.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Evel Knievel, the hard-living motorcycle daredevil whose jumps over Greyhound buses, live sharks and Idaho’s Snake River Canyon made him an international icon in the 1970s, died Friday. He was 69. (Story.)

He was the Elvis of stuntmen, and for those of you too young to remember, he was the real deal. His name was a household word, and when he attempted a jump it was as big as a heavyweight title fight. And this was back in the days when heavyweight fights usually involved people like Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. All the kids in the neighborhood would set up little bike jumps and pretend we were him.

There was never anybody quite like Evel and there never will be again.

We’ll never know how you lasted so long. Rest in peace, you crazy bastard.

4 replies »

  1. I was about 7 or 8 when I first heard his name mentioned. I thought he was ‘evil’ until Dad explained it was his name, spelled differently and that he was not an evil person. I wanted a motorbike too. Instead I rode pillion. My brother adored him.

    RIP to a true original.

  2. I tried to be him in elementary school. Our neighbors had wooden ramps so they could drive their cars up on em and change the oil or whatever. I put one of those in the street, wheeled my bike up to the top of the hill, and hauled ass. I guess I was a crazy son of a bitch back then, too. Totally convinced of my immortality. All I can say is it’s a damned good thing my aim sucked and there was a sturdy 10 foot hedge right next to the ramp, cause that’s where I ended up. Right on top of it. If I would have hit the the ground, I’m sure I would have broken at least half as many bones as Evel did. Never did try strappin’ a jet engine to my bike, though…but I DID end up becoming an aerospace engineer. Hahaha.

  3. “And Evil Knievel, like Virgil, was a gentleman as well as a scholar.”
    ~Neil Fallon (Clutch), from “The Great Shining Path of Monster Trucks”