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A renowned high diver and stuntwoman, Kitty O'Neil was born in 1946. As an infant she was stricken with measles, mumps, and scarlet fever in quick succession, leaving her profoundly deaf and with no balance. Her mother taught her to read lips and speak, and Kitty never learned much sign language. She was mainstreamed in a hearing school by the age of eight, and graduated from Anaheim High School with honors. She had competed in high diving while in high school, but a year after graduation nearly died from spinal meningitis. Two years after her recovery, though, she won diving championships. When she was finally too old to compete, she married a hearing stuntman who trained her in his profession. Despite being just five feet three inches tall and weighing under 100 pounds, Kitty also found work as a daredevil - in 1977 she set a world record for land speed by reaching 412mph in just 3.22 seconds. In 1979, Kitty's life was made into the TV movie Silent Victory: The Kitty O'Neil Story starring Stockard Channing as Kitty, and Brian Dennehy and Colleen Dewhurst as her parents.

Sources:
http://www.wpsd.org/deafawareness/koneil.html
http://www.the-rocketman.com/kitty.html
http://us.imdb.com/Title?0079910

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