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General information  

  • Real name : Stephen Robert Irwin
  • Date of birth : 21/02/1962
  • Place of death : Queensland
  • Date of death : 21/02/1962

Alias  

  • Irwin Steve
  • noto come Crocodile Hunter
  • The Crocodile Hunter

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Steve Irwin (1962)

Stephen Robert Irwin

Type :  

  Summary  

Stephen Robert "Steve" Irwin (22 February 1962 – 4 September 2006), nicknamed "The Crocodile Hunter", was an Australian television personality, wildlife expert, and conservationist. Irwin achieved worldwide fame from the television series The Crocodile Hunter, an internationally broadcast wildlife documentary series which he co-hosted with his wife Terri. Together, the couple also owned and operated Australia Zoo, founded by Irwin's parents in Beerwah, about north of the Queensland state capital city of Brisbane. Irwin died on 4 September 2006 after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming an underwater documentary film entitled Ocean's Deadliest. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship MY Steve Irwin was named in his honour.

  Biography  

 early life
Irwin was born on his mother's birthday to Lyn and Bob Irwin in Essendon, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria. He moved with his parents as a child to Queensland in 1970, where he attended Landsborough State School and Caloundra State High School. Irwin described his father as a wildlife expert interested in herpetology, while his mother Lyn was a wildlife rehabilitator. After moving to Queensland, Bob and Lyn Irwin started the small Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park, where Steve grew up around crocodiles and other reptiles.

Irwin became involved with the park in a number of ways, including taking part in daily animal feeding, as well as care and maintenance activities. On his sixth birthday he was given a scrub python. He began handling crocodiles at the age of nine after his father had educated him on reptiles from an early age. Also at age nine he wrestled his first crocodile, again under his father's supervision. He worked as a volunteer for Queensland's East Coast Crocodile Management program and captured over 100 crocodiles, some of which were relocated, while others were housed at the family park. Irwin took over the management of the park in 1991 and renamed it Australia Zoo in 1992.

 career
  Marriage and family

In 1991, Irwin met Terri Raines, an American naturalist from Eugene, Oregon who was visiting wildlife rehabilitation facilities in Australia and had decided to visit the zoo. According to the couple, it was love at first sight. Terri said at the time, "I thought there was no one like this anywhere in the world. He sounded like an environmental Tarzan, a larger-than-life superhero guy." They were engaged four months later and were married in Eugene on 4 June 1992. Together they had two children: a daughter, Bindi Sue Irwin , and a son, Robert Clarence "Bob" (named after Irwin's father) Irwin . Bindi Sue is jointly named after two of Steve Irwin's favourite animals: Bindi, a saltwater crocodile, and Sui, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier who died on 23 June 2004. Irwin was as enthusiastic about his family as he was about his work. He once described his daughter Bindi as "the reason was put on the Earth." His wife once said, "The only thing that could ever keep him away from the animals he loves are the people he loves even more." Although the Irwins were happily married, they did not wear wedding rings; they believed that in their line of work, wearing jewellery could pose a hazard to them and/or the animals.

  The Crocodile Hunter and related work

Steve and Terri spent their honeymoon trapping crocodiles together. Film footage of their honeymoon, taken by John Stainton, became the first episode of The Crocodile Hunter. The series debuted on Australian TV screens in 1996, and made its way onto North American television the following year. The Crocodile Hunter became successful in the United States, the UK, and over 130 other countries, reaching 500 million people. Irwin's exuberant and enthusiastic presenting style, broad Australian accent, signature khaki shorts, and catchphrase "Crikey!" became known worldwide. Sir David Attenborough praised Irwin for introducing many to the natural world, saying "He taught them how wonderful and exciting it was, he was a born communicator."

American satellite and cable television channel Animal Planet ended The Crocodile Hunter with a series finale entitled "Steve's Last Adventure." The last Crocodile Hunter documentary spanned three hours with footage of Irwin's across-the-world adventure in locations including the Himalayas, the Yangtze River, Borneo, and the Kruger National Park. Irwin went on to star in other Animal Planet documentaries, including Croc Files, The Crocodile Hunter Diaries, and New Breed Vets. During a January 2006 interview on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Irwin announced that Discovery Kids would be developing a show for his daughter, Bindi Sue Irwin – a plan realised after his death as the series Bindi the Jungle Girl.

  Other television and film work
In 1998, Irwin continued, working with director Mark Strickson, to present The Ten Deadliest Snakes in the World. He appeared on several episodes of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. A 2000 FedEx commercial with Irwin lightheartedly dealt with the possibility of occupational death from snakebite and the fanciful notion that FedEx would have saved him, if only FedEx were used.

Under Irwin's leadership, the operations grew to include the zoo, the television series, the Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation , and the International Crocodile Rescue. Improvements to the Australia Zoo include the Animal Planet Crocoseum, the rainforest aviary and Tiger Temple. Irwin mentioned that he was considering opening an Australia Zoo in Las Vegas, Nevada, and possibly at other sites around the world.

In 2001, Irwin appeared in a cameo role in the Eddie Murphy film Dr. Dolittle 2, in which a crocodile warns Dolittle that he knows Irwin is going to grab him and is prepared to attack when he does, but Dolittle fails to warn Irwin in time. Irwin's only starring feature film role was in 2002's The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, which was released to mixed reviews. In the film Irwin mistakes some CIA agents for poachers. He sets out to stop them from capturing a crocodile, which, unknown to him, has actually swallowed a tracking transmitter. The film won the Best Family Feature Film award for a comedy film at the Young Artist Awards. The film was produced on a budget of about US$12 million, and has grossed $33 million. To promote the film, Irwin was featured in an animated short produced by Animax Entertainment for Intermix.

In 2002, Irwin and his family appeared in the Wiggles video/DVD release Wiggly Safari, which was set in Australia Zoo and featured singing and dancing inspired by Australian wildlife.

In 2006, Irwin provided his voice for the 2006 animated film Happy Feet, as an elephant seal named Trev. The film was dedicated to Irwin, as he died during post-production. Another, previously incomplete scene, featuring Irwin providing the voice of an albatross and essentially playing himself, was restored to the DVD release.

  Media campaigns

Irwin was also involved in several media campaigns. He enthusiastically joined with the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service to promote Australia's strict quarantine/customs requirements, with advertisements and posters featuring slogans such as, "Quarantine Matters! Don't muck with it". His payments for these advertising campaigns were directed into his wildlife fund.

In 2004, Irwin was appointed ambassador for The Ghan, the passenger train running from Adelaide to Alice Springs in the central Australian outback, when the line was extended all the way to Darwin on the northern coast that year. For some time he was sponsored by Toyota.

Irwin was a keen promoter for Australian tourism in general and Queensland tourism in particular. In 2002, the Australia Zoo was voted Queensland's top tourist attraction. His immense popularity in the United States meant he often promoted Australia as a tourist destination there. As a part of the United States' "Australia Week" celebrations in January 2006, Irwin appeared at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, California.

  Search and rescue in Mexico
In November 2003, Irwin was filming a documentary on sea lions off the coast of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula when he heard via his boat's radio that two scuba divers were reported missing in the area. Irwin and his entire crew suspended operations to aid in the search. His team's divers searched with the rescue divers, and Irwin used his vessel to patrol the waters around the island where the incident occurred, as well as using his satellite communications system to call in a rescue plane. On the second day of the search, kayakers found one of the divers, Scott Jones, perched on a narrow rock ledge jutting out from the side of a cliff. Irwin and a crewmember escorted him to Irwin's boat. Jones did not recognise Irwin. The other lost diver, Katie Vrooman, was found dead by a search plane later the same day not far from Jones' location.

 death
On 4 September 2006, Irwin was fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray spine while snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef, at Batt Reef, which is located off the coast of Port Douglas in north Queensland. Irwin was in the area filming his own documentary, Ocean's Deadliest, but weather had stalled filming. Irwin decided to take the opportunity to film some shallow water shots for a segment in the television program his daughter Bindi Irwin was hosting when the ray suddenly turned and lashed out at him with the spine on its tail.

The events were caught on camera, and a copy of the footage was handed to the Queensland Police. In an interview with TIME, marine documentary filmmaker and former spearfisherman Ben Cropp concluded that Irwin had accidentally boxed the ray in, causing it to attack: "It stopped and twisted and threw up its tail with the spike, and it caught him in the chest.... It's a defensive thing. It's like being stabbed with a dirty dagger.... It's a one-in-a-million thing. I have swum with many rays, and I have only had one do that to me."

Initially, when CNN's Larry King interviewed Irwin's colleague John Stainton late on 4 September 2006, Stainton denied the suggestion that Irwin had pulled the spine out of his chest or that he had seen footage of the event, insisting that the anecdote was "absolute rubbish." However, the following day, when he first described the video to the media, he stated, "Steve came over the top of the ray and the tail came up, and spiked him here , and he pulled it out and the next minute he's gone."

It is thought, in the absence of a coroner's report, that a combination of the toxins and the puncture wound from the spine caused Irwin to die of cardiac arrest, with most of the damage being inflicted by tears to arteries or other main blood vessels. A similar incident in Florida a month later, in which a man survived a stingray barb through the heart, suggested that Irwin's removing the barb might have caused or hastened his death.

Crew members aboard his boat called the emergency services in the nearest city of Cairns and administered CPR as they rushed the boat to the nearby Low Islets to meet an emergency rescue helicopter. However, despite the best efforts of Irwin's crew, medical staff pronounced him dead when they arrived a short time later. According to Dr Ed O'Loughlin, who treated Irwin, "it became clear fairly soon that he had non-survivable injuries. He had a penetrating injury to the left front of his chest. He had lost his pulse and wasn't breathing."
Irwin's body was flown to a morgue in Cairns. His wife, Terri Irwin, who was on a walking tour in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park in Tasmania at the time, returned via a private plane from Devonport to the Sunshine Coast with their two children.

Stainton told CNN's Larry King that, in his opinion, the videotape of Irwin's fatal accident "should be destroyed". In an interview with Barbara Walters on the American ABC network shortly after Irwin's death, Terri Irwin said she had not seen the film of her husband's deadly encounter with the stingray and that it would not be shown on television. On 3 January 2007, the only video footage showing the events that led to Irwin's death was handed over to Terri, who said that her family had not seen the video and that it would never be made public. In an 11 January 2007 interview with Access Hollywood, Terri said that "all footage been destroyed." Despite these statements, numerous videos and still pictures claiming to be of Irwin's death surfaced on YouTube and other Internet sites.

Production was completed on Ocean's Deadliest, which aired for the first time on the Discovery Channel on 21 January 2007. The documentary was completed with footage shot in the weeks following the accident. According to Stainton, "Anything to do with the day that he died, that film is not available." Irwin's death is not mentioned in the film, aside from a still image of him at the end alongside the text "In Memory of Steve Irwin". Terri Irwin reported in 2007 that Steve had an ongoing premonition that he would die before he reached age 40. She wrote about this in a book about their lives together, Steve and Me.

  Reaction
News of Irwin's death prompted reactions around the world. Then Australian Prime Minister John Howard expressed his "shock and distress" at the death, saying that "Australia has lost a wonderful and colourful son." Queensland Premier Peter Beattie commented in a Channel Seven television interview that Irwin would "be remembered as not just a great Queenslander, but a great Australian". The Australian federal parliament opened on 5 September 2006 with condolence speeches by both Howard, and the Leader of the Opposition, Kim Beazley. Flags at the Sydney Harbour Bridge were lowered to half mast in honour of Irwin.

Several Australian news websites went down because of high web traffic, and for the first time, the "top ten" list of most-viewed stories for Fairfax Digital news sites was swept by a single topic. Talk-back radio experienced a high volume of callers expressing their grief. The television interview show Enough Rope re-broadcast a 2003 interview between Irwin and Andrew Denton on the evening of his death. The Seven Network aired a television memorial show as a tribute to Irwin on 5 September 2006, as did the Nine Network on 6 September.

The US feed of the Animal Planet cable television channel aired a special tribute to Irwin that started on Monday, 4 September. The tribute continued with the Animal Planet channel showing highlights of Irwin's more than 200 appearances on Discovery Network's shows. CNN showed a repeat of his 2004 interview on Larry King Live. Late-night talk show host Jay Leno—on whose show Irwin had appeared more than ten times—delivered a tribute describing Irwin as a great ambassador of Australia. There were also tributes on Live with Regis & Kelly and Barbara Walters' The View.

Hundreds of people visited Australia Zoo to pay tribute to the deceased entertainer and conservationist. The day after his death, the volume of people coming to pay their respects affected traffic so much that police reduced the speed limit near the zoo and told motorists to expect delays. BBC reported on 13 September that thousands of fans had been to Australia Zoo since Irwin's death, bringing flowers, candles, stuffed animals and messages of support. In the weeks after his death, Irwin's conservation foundation, Wildlife Warriors, reported that thousands of people from around the world were offering their support via donations to the conservation group.

Dan Mathews, vice-president of the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said it was "no shock at all that Steve Irwin should die provoking a dangerous animal." He added that "Irwin made his career out of antagonising frightened wild animals, that's a very dangerous message to send to children." He also made a comparison with another well known conservationist: "If you compare with a responsible conservationist like Jacques Cousteau, he looks like a cheap reality TV star." The son of Jacques Cousteau, Jean-Michel Cousteau—also a producer of wildlife documentaries—took issue as well with Irwin's hands-on approach to nature television, saying, "You don't touch nature, you just look at it." Cousteau went on to say that although Irwin's approach "goes very well on television", it would "interfere with nature, jump on animals, grab them, hold them, and have this very, very spectacular, dramatic way of presenting things" which he felt was "very misleading". Jacques Cousteau's grandson and Jean-Michel's nephew, Philippe Cousteau Jr., however, was working with Irwin on the "Ocean's Deadliest" documentary at the time of the accident and later described him as "a remarkable individual." Describing their project, he said, "I think why Steve was so excited about it that we were looking at these animals that people think of as, you know, dangerous and deadly monsters, and they're not. They all have an important place in the environment and in the world. And that was what his whole message was about."

 Backlash against stingrays
Fatalities due to stingrays are infrequent and occurrences are not consistently collated, while there have been several others in Australia. Irwin's death is believed to be the only fatality from a stingray ever captured on film. In the weeks following Irwin's death, at least ten stingrays were found dead and mutilated, with their tails cut off, on the beaches of Queensland, prompting speculation that they had been killed by fans of Irwin as an act of revenge. However, Bill Turner, chairman of Queensland fishing information service Sunfish, said the claims were ridiculous. "To tie this into what happened with Steve is just ridiculous", he said. "I've been seeing this for the 50 years that I've been fishing." Michael Hornby, a friend of the late naturalist and executive director of Irwin's Wildlife Warrior fund, condemned any revenge killings. "We just want to make it very clear that we will not accept and not stand for anyone who's taken a form of retribution. That's the last thing Steve would want", he said.

  Funeral
Queensland Premier Peter Beattie offered to hold a state funeral for Irwin – an honour also agreed to by Prime Minister Howard. The family decided, however, that such a funeral would not have been appropriate. Irwin's father Bob stated that his son would not have wanted such an honour and would want to be remembered as an "ordinary bloke." Beattie stated he would honour the decision of the Irwin family regarding their arrangements.

Family and friends held a private funeral service at Caloundra on the afternoon of 9 September. Irwin was buried in a private ceremony at Australia Zoo on the same day; the grave site is inaccessible to the zoo's visitors.

  Public memorial service
A public service was held at the 5,500-seat Crocoseum at Australia Zoo on 20 September. The service was broadcast live, commercial free, in the eastern states of Australia, by free-to-air channels Seven, Nine and the ABC in Australia, as well as live on subscription channel Sky News Australia. In addition, it was broadcast live and without commercials on Animal Planet in the United States, as well as to Germany, the UK, and Asia. It is estimated that over 300 million viewers worldwide watched the service. The memorial was also rebroadcast in the US on Animal Planet on 1 January 2007, as part of their New Year's Day celebration, and again the following day.

The memorial included a speech by Australian Prime Minister John Howard, as well as messages by celebrities from Australia and around the world including Hugh Jackman, Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, David Wenham, Kelly Ripa and Larry King. Costner called Irwin a fearless man who was brave enough to let people see him as he was. Irwin's father, Bob Irwin, spoke at the memorial, as did his daughter Bindi and associates Wes Mannion and John Stainton. Anthony Field of The Wiggles partly hosted the service, often sharing the screen with various animals, from koalas to elephants. Australian music star John Williamson sang True Blue, which was Irwin's favourite song. In a symbolic finish to the service, Irwin's truck was loaded up with gear and driven out of the arena for the last time as Williamson sang. As a final tribute, Australia Zoo staff spelled out Irwin's catchphrase "Crikey" in yellow flowers as Irwin's truck was driven from the Crocoseum for the last time to end the service.

  Other memorials
Flags on the Sydney Harbour Bridge flew at half mast on the day of the memorial service, and several permanent memorials for Irwin have been considered or announced since his death. Premier Peter Beattie suggested a national park be named after Irwin or a permanent memorial might be constructed in his honour, though the details of the structure would depend on Irwin's family. On 1 January 2007, Glass House Mountains Road, the road that runs by the Australia Zoo, was officially renamed Steve Irwin Way. The Australian government announced in July 2007 that there would be a nature park in Australia named after Irwin.

Animal Planet announced it would rename the garden in front of Discovery Communications' world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland to be the Steve Irwin Memorial Sensory Garden. Animal Planet also announced the creation of a Steve Irwin Crocodile Hunter Fund (called "The Crikey Fund") to "provide a way for people from across the globe to make contributions in Irwin's honour to support wildlife protection, education and conservation".

On the DVD of the animated film Happy Feet, there is a deleted scene in which the main character, Mumble, meets an albatross and a blue whale. The scene was unfinished at first, but it was included on the DVD release to honour Irwin's memory, as Irwin had insisted on being in a film that contained a message about the environment. However, this scene was removed from the movie, and it was decided to let Irwin play an elephant seal named Trev.

On 4 September 2007, Australian fans gathered at the Irwin family zoo on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland to commemorate the first anniversary of Irwin's death. State Premier Peter Beattie described Irwin as one of the state's greatest cultural ambassadors. On 15 November, Irwin's widow Terri and children, Bindi and Bob, remembered his life and achievements on "Steve Irwin Day".

An asteroid discovered in 2001 was named 57567 Crikey in honour of Irwin and his "signature phrase".

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Steve Irwin", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.