Evel Knievel Net Worth
Evel Knievel had an estimated net worth of $3 million at death. Evel Knievel was an American daredevil who became an icon in the 1970s for his incredible motorcycle stunts. He earned most of his income from his career as a stunt performer.
Evel Knievel was a daredevil from the United States who attempted over 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps. Flying over the fountain at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, jumping over buses at London’s Wembley Stadium, and an aborted trip across the Snake River Canyon in a steam-powered vehicle are among the more famous. Knievel rose from humble and troubled beginnings to become an international icon in the 1970s for his incredible motorcycle stunts.
To calculate the net worth of Evel Knievel, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.
Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:
|Net Worth:||$3 Million|
|Monthly Salary:||$70 Thousand|
|Annual Income:||$1 Million|
|Source of Wealth:||Stunt Performer|
Evel Knievel was born on October 17, 1938, as Robert Craig Knievel Jr. in Butte, Montana, a copper-mining town that resembled a 19th-century boom town at the time. For most young men, the future consisted of working in the mines, in town, or on one of the surrounding ranches. Despite being a standout athlete in track and field and hockey, Knievel struggled in school.
When he was young, his parents divorced, and he was raised by his grandparents. He bounced from one odd job to another after dropping out of high school. He was soon arrested for robbing hubcaps, motorcycles, and generally being a nuisance. He attempted “wheelies” with an earth mover while working for a construction company and collided with Butte’s main power line, causing a major blackout.
He joined the United States Army in the 1950s and volunteered for paratrooper school, making over 30 successful jumps. Following that, he drifted again while playing semi-pro hockey and eventually taking up motorcycle racing. Too many falls and broken bones forced him to retire from racing, but not from motorcycles or stunts.
Knievel’s nickname is said to have come from a police chase in 1956. He stole a motorcycle, crashed it, and was arrested. The night jailer clearly enjoyed giving the inmates nicknames. William Knofel, another inmate in the jail that evening, was dubbed “Awful Knofel” by the jailer. The jailer gave Knievel the moniker “Evil Knievel.” Knievel legally changed his name and spelling to Evel Knievel years later.
Evel Knievel’s Stunts
Knievel had relocated to Moses Lake, Washington, in 1966, where he worked in a motorcycle shop. He advertised that he would jump a motorcycle 40 feet over parked cars and a box of rattlesnakes, then continue on past a caged cougar to drum up business. He attempted the jump in front of 1,000 people, but fell short, landing on the rattlesnakes. Knievel’s career took off after the crowd went wild.
It was the 1960s, and the United States was on its way to the moon. Knievel recognized an opportunity. The thought of a man hurtling through space with only a “crotch-rocket” between him and disaster may pique some people’s interest. Inspired by the exploits of acclaimed stunt driver Joie Chitwood, Knievel formed Evel Knievel’s Motorcycle Daredevils and dominated the county fair circuit. The group did wheelies, blasted through burning plywood walls, and jumped over vehicles. Knievel had to stop racing after several crashes and more broken bones.
He noticed the fountains at Caesar’s Palace casino while visiting Las Vegas and felt he was ready for the big time. Knievel used deception and audacity to create a phony promotional campaign that eventually drew the attention of Caesars Palace CEO Jay Sarno, who invited him to jump the casino’s fountain. In the casino’s parking lot, takeoff and landing ramps were set up.
Knievel roared off the first ramp with a near perfect take off on December 31, 1967. The audience was about to erupt in cheers. Knievel’s motorcycle’s rear wheel caught the edge of the landing ramp as he approached it. Knievel’s hands were wrenched from the handlebars, and his helpless body bounced like a ragdoll. The stunned audience gaped, waiting for the crash to end. Knievel suffered a crushed pelvis and femur, hip, wrist, and both ankle fractures, and a concussion. He had been in a coma for 29 days.
Knievel attempted one jump after another in the 1970s, each with longer distances and more formidable barriers. He crashed several times, breaking bones, snapping tendons, and spending several weeks in the hospital. On five separate occasions, he was featured on ABC’s Wide World of Sports performing his stunts.
Because of the power of television, he became a hero to young boys all over America. Knievel took care of his image. He marketed his brand through toy manufacturers and appeared on anti-drug promotional tours and motorcycle safety commercials while dressed in his iconic star-spangled white jumpsuit. He became famous for his daring jumps as well as his disastrous falls, earning him the somewhat disparaging moniker “Crash Knievel.”
Snake River Canyon
In his quest for more daring and dangerous jumps, Knievel asked the Department of Interior if he could jump over the Grand Canyon. His request was denied. Undaunted, he set his sights on Idaho’s Snake River Canyon. Knievel announced in 1972 that he had leased a parcel of private land, hired a film crew, and an aeronautical engineer. He spent over two years testing and developing, and by the fall of 1974, he was ready. He landed a Sports Illustrated cover just a few days before the September 8, 1974 jump. His vehicle, dubbed the Skycycle, was a steam-powered machine that looked more like a re-entry vehicle than a motorcycle.
Many people felt that the outcome did not live up to the hype. The parachutes deployed seconds after the Skycycle rocketed off the launch rail, and the vehicle drifted helplessly back to earth on the same side of the canyon from which he took off. Knievel, on the other hand, was immortalized in the Smithsonian Institution as “America’s Legendary Daredevil.”
Knievel attempted to jump 13 single-deck buses at Wembley Stadium in London, England, on May 26, 1975. Knievel sailed 10 feet or more across the busses in the first part of the jump, which was featured on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. His rear tire seemed to come down too hard just as he landed on the ramp, and he bounced off the cycle, which was still running at full throttle.
When the motorcycle collided with him, many in the crowd, including the announcer, thought it was the end. After landing in a heap, medics loaded him onto a gurney and drove him to the ambulance. Knievel’s back was broken, but he was not going to be beaten. He struggled to get off the gurney and made his way to the podium, where he announced his retirement. He later stated that he had walked into Wembley Stadium and was about to walk out.
Knievel talked himself into one more jump, so the announcement was premature. Knievel successfully jumped over fourteen Greyhound buses on October 25, 1975, at Kings Island near Cincinnati, Ohio. At 133 feet, the event proved to be his longest successful jump. Knievel went into semi-retirement after an unsuccessful attempt to jump a shark tank in 1977, appearing in small venues and promoting his son Robby Knievel’s career as a daredevil jumper.
Final Years and Death
His career had highs and lows in his final years. He was convicted of assault and battery in 1977 and sentenced to six months in prison. Many of his promotional contracts were lost as a result of the incident, and he declared bankruptcy in 1981. He and his 38-year-old wife divorced after he was fined for soliciting an undercover policewoman for prostitution. He married his longtime partner Krystal Kennedy in 1999, but the couple later divorced despite remaining together.
Knievel had diabetes and liver problems for several years, which were thought to be caused by a bout of hepatitis C, most likely caused by tainted blood transfusions. He also developed pulmonary fibrosis as a result of too many crashes.
Knievel, who had defied death for decades, died on November 30, 2007, in Clearwater, Florida. His death occurred just two days after it was announced that he and rapper Kanye West had reached an agreement to settle a federal lawsuit over the use of Knievel’s trademarked image in a popular West music video. “I was a daredevil, a performer,” he told Maxim Magazine in one of his last interviews. I loved the adrenaline rush, the money, and the whole macho thing. All of these events shaped me into Evel Knievel. Sure, I was terrified. You have to be a jerk not to be scared. “However, I beat the hell out of death.”
Robert “Robbie” III, one of Knievel’s four children (Knievel had two sons and two daughters with former wife Linda), followed in his father’s footsteps and became a professional stuntman. Robbie began touring with his father when he was 12 years old, after developing his skills since the age of four.
Knievel’s legend was brought back to life on July 8, 2018, for History’s Evel Live, in which stuntman and motocross racer Travis Pastrana attempted to replicate three of the daredevil’s famous jumps. Pastrana held on to land his jump over the Caesar’s Palace fountain after flying over 52 cars and then 16 buses, avoiding the disastrous finish that had hospitalized his predecessor 50 years earlier.
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