Place of Death
Cause of Death
Diabetes And Pulmonary Fibrosis
Claim to Fame
Jumping the Snake River Canyon
Profile Bio Text
Robert Knievel was born in Butte, Montana, the first of two children born to Robert and Ann Knievel. Robert and Ann divorced in 1940, just after the birth of their second child, Nic. Both parents decided to leave Butte and their two children to get a new start. The children were raised by their paternal grandparents, Ignatius and Emma Knievel. At the age of eight, Knievel attended a Joie Chitwood Auto Daredevil Show, which he credits for his later career choice to become a motorcycle daredevil.
Knievel dropped out of high school after his sophomore year and got a job with the Anaconda Mining Company as a diamond drill operator in the copper mines. He was promoted to surface duty where his job was driving a large earth mover. Knievel was fired when he made the earth mover pop a motorcycle-type wheelie and drove it into Butte`s main power line, leaving the city without electricity for several hours. With a lot of time on his hands, Knievel began to get into more and more trouble around Butte. After one particular police chase in 1956 in which he crashed his motorcycle, Knievel was taken to jail on a charge of reckless driving. When the night jailer came around to check the roll, he noted Robert Knievel in one cell and William Knofel in the other. Knofel was well known as "Awful Knofel," so Knievel began to be referred to as Evel Knievel. The nickname stuck.
Always looking for new thrills and challenges, Knievel participated in local professional rodeos and ski-jumping events, including winning the Northern Rocky Mountain Ski Association Class A Men`s ski jumping championship in 1957. In the late 1950s, Knievel joined the Army. His athletic ability allowed him to join the track team where he was a pole vaulter. After his army stint, Knievel returned to Butte where he met, kidnapped and married his first wife, Linda Bork. Shortly after getting married, Knievel left Butte to join the Charlotte Checkers of the Eastern Hockey League, a minor professional ice hockey league. Realizing that he wasn`t talented enough to make it into the National Hockey League and that the real money in sports, at the time, was in owning a team, Knievel returned to Butte and started the Butte Bombers, a semi-pro hockey team. To help promote his team and earn some money, he convinced the 1960 Olympic Czechoslovakian hockey team to play his Butte Bombers in a warm-up game to the Olympics. Knievel was ejected from the game minutes into the third period and left the stadium. When the Czechoslovakian officials went to the box office to collect the expense money that the team was promised, workers discovered the game receipts had been stolen. The U.S. Olympic Committee ended up paying the Czechoslovakian team`s expenses in order to avoid an international incident.
After the birth of his first son, Kelly, Knievel realized that he needed to come up with a new way to support his family. Using the hunting and fishing skills taught to him by his grandfather, Knievel started the Sur-Kill Guide Service. He guaranteed that if a hunter signed up with his service and paid his fee that they would get the big game animal that they wanted or he would refund their money. Business was very brisk until game wardens realized that he was taking his clients into Yellowstone National Park to find their prey. As a result of this poaching, Knievel had to shut down his new business venture. Having few options, he turned to a life of crime, becoming a burglar. It is rumored that Knievel bought his first bike after breaking into the safe of the Butte courthouse.
In December 1961, Knievel, learning about the culling of elk in Yellowstone Park, decided to hitchhike from Butte to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness and to have the elk relocated to areas open to hunters. He presented his case to Representative Arnold Olsen, Senator Mike Mansfield and Kennedy administration Interior Secretary Stewart Udall. As a result of his efforts, the slaughter was stopped, and the animals have since been regularly captured and relocated to areas of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.
Knievel decided to go straight after returning home from Washington. He joined the motocross circuit and had moderate success, but still couldn`t make enough money to support his family. In 1962, Knievel broke his collarbone and shoulder in a motocross accident. The doctors said he couldn`t race for at least six months. To help support his family, he switched careers and sold insurance for the Combined Insurance Company of America, working for W. Clement Stone. Stone suggested that Knievel read Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, a book that Stone wrote with Napoleon Hill. To this day Knievel credits much of his success to Stone and his book.
Knievel did very well as an insurance salesman (even going as far as to sell insurance policies to several institutionalized mental patients) and wanted to be quickly rewarded for his efforts. When the company refused to promote him to vi
Dropped out Sophmore Year
Full Name at Birth
Robert Craig Knievel
Has Detailed Data (New)
Evel Knievel ( ; October 17, 1938 – November 30, 2007), born Robert Craig Knievel, was an American daredevil, painter, entertainer, and international icon. In his career he attempted over 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps between 1965 and 1980, and in 1974, a failed jump across Snake River Canyon in the Skycycle X-2, a steam-powered rocket. The over 433 broken bones he suffered during his career earned him an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the survivor of "most bones broken in a lifetime". Knievel died of pulmonary disease in Clearwater, Florida, aged 69. According to the British paper The Times writing his obituary, Knievel was one of the greatest American icons of the 1970s. Knievel was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.
Couple Profile Source
Daredevil, painter, entertainer, and international icon
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