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How Daredevil Legend Evel Knievel Got His Name

by Robert Pace 2:50 PM PDT, October 14, 2013
Playing How Daredevil Legend Evel Knievel Got His Name

Evel Knievel is household name for his many spectacular daredevil stunts, but few are aware of how he was given his nickname, which we discover in ETonline's exclusive clip.

Discovery will premiere a one-hour special tonight on the late Knievel's life, from his very early years growing up in Montana as Robert Craig Knievel to the international celebrity Evel Knievel.

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While his catchy nickname has become engraved in worldwide fame, he received the nickname in infamy.

Before his days of professional daredevil stunts, Knievel lived a less-than-noble life of crime and recklessness, which landed him in jail when he was a teenager.

"There was another guy in the jail and his name was Knofel, and the jailer looks at his manifest and he says, 'How do you like that? I've got 'Awful Knofel' and 'Evil Knievel' both in my jail tonight!" recounts motorsports promoter J.C. Agajanian Jr. "It stuck, and that's how Evel Knievel came by his name."

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In an attempt to avoid being pegged as "evil," Knievel swapped the "i" with an "e" and was thereafter referred to as Evel Knievel.

Watch the exclusive clip above, and check out the special Pure Evil: American Legend tonight at 10 p.m. on Discovery.

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