Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel is one of the most famous entertainers of the 21st century. Between 1965 and 1980, Knievel attempted over 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps, gaining thousands of fans and earning a reputation as the greatest daredevil in American history. For more on Knievel, check out Leigh Montville's new book, Evel: The High-Flying Life of Evel Knievel: American Showman, Daredevil, and Legend ( click here for excerpt ). Here are some photos of the American icon.
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Knievel, seen here jumping over an expanse of cars in 1971, broke a Guinness record 433 bones in his lifetime.
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Knievel dreamed big when thinking of possible jumps. While in New York City, he spoke of jumping from one skyscraper to another. The plan never got off the ground and the NYC fans had to settle for this performance, where the daredevil jumped over nine cars at Madison Square Garden.
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At an event at the Cow Palace in Daly City, Calif., Knievel successfully jumped over 15 cars to set a new record, but he lost control of his bike after landing and suffered a leg injury. Seen here on a stretcher, the daredevil made an appearance in the arena before being taken to the hospital.
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The daredevil poses at the Grand Canyon on the cover of a 1974 Sports Illustrated. Knievel never got approval to jump the canyon -- one of his dreams -- but his son Robbie jumped over part of the canyon in 1999.
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The stuntman sets a new record for motorcycle jumps by sailing over 13 Mack trucks in 1974 at the Canadian National Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.
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Knievel stands next to his sons Kelly, 14, (left) and Robbie, 12, at the Canadian National Exhibition Stadium in 1974. Robbie followed in his father's footsteps as a motorcycle-jumping daredevil.
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Knievel's most extravagant idea was to jump over the one-mile Snake River Canyon in southern Idaho. Since a motorcycle can't stay airborne that long, Knievel used a contraption known as the "Sky-Cycle" -- a bucket seat attached to a steam-powered thrust engine. As this diagram indicates, the daredevil was supposed to jump the 1,600 feet from one end to the other.
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Knievel waves to the crowd as he is being lowered into his $150,000 Sky-Cycle for a test run. Unfortunately, Knievel was unable to clear the canyon in any of his test runs, but went through with the attempt anyway.
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As many expected, the jump was a failure. The parachute accidentally deployed when the Sky-Cycle was launched, and strong headwinds blew Knievel back into the canyon, where he crashed, 600 feet below, just a few feet from the swirling waters of the river. Miraculously, Knievel walked away with only minor injuries.
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The daredevil clears 13 buses on his motorcycle at a show in 1975 at Wembley Stadium in London.
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After clearing the 13 buses, Knievel crashed on the landing ramp. He suffered a broken hand and spinal injuries.
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Knievel's face is wiped by a nurse at Chicago's Michael Reese Hospital in 1977 after the stuntman was hurt during a practice run in the city. Knievel told reporters that he "knew there would be an accident," and he made a practice run so that no one else would be injured by a crash
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Knievel leaves a California courthouse in 1977 with his then-wife Linda after he was sentenced to six months in jail and three years probation for beating promoter Shelly Saltman with a baseball bat. The dispute allegedly occurred because Saltman's book painted the daredevil in a bad light, accusing him of beating his wife and abusing drugs.
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Knievel is interviewed by guest host Sammy Davis Jr. on the Tonight Show in 1979.
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Knievel, then 61, and his bride Krystal Kennedy, 30, face the audience after their 1999 wedding in front of the fountains at Caesar's Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. In 1967, Knievel had crashed in an attempt to jump the fountains, suffering a concussion that put him in a coma for 29 days.
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The stuntman holds his dog, Rocket, in his home in Butte, Mont., in 2001. The town hosts "Evel Knievel Day" every July to celebrate the local hero.
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Knievel poses with the headstone for his grave in 2005 in Butte, Mont. The daredevil had been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease, but he lived until Nov. 30, 2007. He had stored the headstone in Idaho since his failed Snake River Canyon jump in 1974.
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The daredevil flashes the peace sign with Kanye West in 2007. The daredevil and the rapper peacefully resolved a trademark dispute over West's use of Knievel's image in a music video.
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