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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 April, 2003, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
Evel Knievel gets rock opera
Evel Knievel
Knievel said he the rock opera was a "wonderful compliment"
Evel Knievel, the famous daredevil motorcycle rider of the 1970s, has signed over the rights for a rock musical based on his life.

Evel Knievel: the Rock Opera has been given the go-ahead after Jef Bek, the head of small Los Angeles theatre company Zoo District, received the stuntman's blessing for the project.

Knievel gave his approval after Bek flew to the 64-year-old stuntman's home in Clearwater, Florida, and played him seven of the songs.

"I think it's a wonderful compliment," Knievel said. The stuntman broke many records in his stunt career jumping over canyons and obstacles before retiring in 1980.

"He was a living superhero," Bek said. "He knows I get him, and he knows I understand what's really significant about his legacy."

Bek says he wants the musical to reflect both the stuntman's career and the 1970s rock sound popularised by bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Who and Pink Floyd.

Fractures

Bek also said that Knievel had influenced him to become a stuntman himself at the age of 12, but he was dissuaded after riding his bicycle into a tree.

Knievel suffered 37 breaks and fractures during his daredevil career.

Evel Knievel in the 1970s
Knievel was an international star in the 1970s

In 1967 he was nearly killed in an attempt to jump over the fountains outside Caesar's Palace casino in Las Vegas.

He remains partially crippled from his injuries, which include breaks in both legs and a crushed pelvis.

His son Robbie has also become a record-breaking stunt rider. In 1989 he successfully cleared the Caesar's Palace fountains.

And in 1999 he successfully jumped 228 feet over the Grand Canyon in Arizona to set a world record.




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