Evel Knievel b. October 17, 1938 in Butte, Montana, d. November 30, 2007 in Clearwater, Florida.

Probably the most famous stunt motorcycle jumper ever.

Though he had been racing motorcycles informally for years, his career as a daredevil began in 1965 when he formed a troupe called "Evel Knievel's Motorcycle Daredevils." Touring at first with his troupe and later alone, he performed stunts like riding through walls of fire, jumping over live rattlesnakes and mountain lions, and being towed at 200 miles an hour behind dragster race cars holding on to a parachute. His jumps kept getting more dangerous until on New Year's Day 1968, he attempted a 151 foot jump across the fountains in front of Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Although he successfully cleared the fountains, his landing was a disaster, and his injuries put him in the hospital in a coma for 30 days.

Undaunted, he went on to perform even bigger and crazier stunts, climaxing with his Sept 8, 1974 jump over the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. He actually made it across the quarter mile wide chasm, but strong winds blew his parachute back into the canyon and he, once again, came very close to death.

He made a few more jumps, but finally ended his daredevil career in 1976. During a nationally televised performance of an attempt to jump a tank full of live sharks in the Chicago Ampitheater he struck and partially blinded a cameraman, while he himself broke both arms and suffered a severe concussion. He retired from major performances after that, but continued doing smaller stunts and supporting the career of his son Robbie.

Source: http://www.evel.com/, The Official Evel Knievel website.