Steve Irwin

  • Celebrity
  • Birth Name: Stephen Robert Irwin
  • Birth Place: Essendon, Victoria, Australia
  • Died: September 4, 2006
  • Profession: TV host (Crocodile Hunter), Naturalist, Zookeeper

Biography

Famous for his perpetual exuberance, khaki outfits and "crikey!" catchword, this late Aussie animal activist-cum-TV-personality amazed audiences with his outrageous---not to mention dangerous---animal stunts. As a child he was raised on his parents' wildlife park, which he later expanded and rechristened Australia Zoo. Irwin launched his seminal Crocodile Hunter series in 1997 on Animal Planet, and the show's title became his nickname. He and his wife, Teri, cohosted the series, which featured them trotting the globe wrestling creatures wonderful and wild. In the late 1990s, his career got a big boost when he began appearing frequently on American talk shows, and by the 2000s, he was famous enough to warrant a cameo in Dr. Dolittle 2. He went on to parlay his persona into myriad products, including books, games and action figures. Although some critics questioned his intrusive methods and overblown theatrics (he was widely chastised for feeding a crocodile while holding his infant son in 2004), the public adored him, and his message of animal conservation was a positive one. Unfortunately, his untimely 2006 death caused by a poisonous stingray barb served to undermine his work: Irwin had spent his life trying to convince people that animals, even threatening ones, needed to be understood and not feared, yet he fell prey to one of nature's dangers. But his conservation efforts live on at Australia Zoo, which honors his memory every year by celebrating Steve Irwin Day on November 15th, as well as at places like the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, which is a parcel of land on Cape York Peninsula purchased in his honor by the Australian government.

Fast Facts

  • Grew up at his parents' Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park, where he helped with the daily feeding and care of the animals.
  • By age 9 was catching crocodiles in the rivers of North Queensland alongside his father.
  • The only animals he feared were parrots.
  • Took over management of his parents' park, renamed the Australia Zoo, in 1991.
  • Met his future wife when she attended a crocodile demonstration at his zoo in 1991; their honeymoon was spent filming the first episode of The Crocodile Hunter.
  • In the 2002 feature film The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, he and his wife played themselves.
  • Was killed in 2006 when a poisonous barb from a stingray punctured his heart.
  • Irwin's father turned down the offer of a state funeral for his son, saying, "He was just an ordinary bloke, and wants to be remembered as an ordinary bloke." The family had a private funeral, and then a public memorial service was held for him at Australia Zoo and televised throughout the world.
  • The Australian government bought land on Cape York Peninsula and designated it the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve as a permanent memorial to him.
  • Beginning in 2007, Australia Zoo began celebrating Steve Irwin Day every year on November 15th.

Awards

  • 2007, Logie Awards — Hall of Fame: Winner

Relationships

  • Bob Irwin — Father
  • Terri Irwin — Wife
  • Robert Irwin — Son
  • Bindi Irwin — Daughter
  • Lyn Irwin — Mother

Details

  • Birth Name: Stephen Robert Irwin
  • Birth Place: Essendon, Victoria, Australia
  • Died: September 4, 2006
  • Profession: TV host (Crocodile Hunter), Naturalist, Zookeeper

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