Karl Wallenda

Karl Wallenda

Magdeburg, Stadtkreis Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany
Death 22 Mar 1978 (aged 74)
San Juan, San Juan Municipality, Puerto Rico, USA
Burial Bradenton, Manatee County, Florida, USA
Memorial ID 1611 · View Source
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Circus Performer. Tightrope walker, patriarch of the circus group known as The Great Wallenda's. The signature event in the act was a creation by Karl Wallenda, known as The Seven Man Pyramid. The pyramid was created by four men standing on a wire 35 feet in the air, with the two pairs yoked together by shoulder bars. On top of them on the second level stood two more men, again yoked together with a shoulder bar. At the pinnacle of this pyramid was a woman sitting and then standing on a chair. This act was the crowning achievement for the Wallenda's. They performed it successfully for 14 years, even surviving an earthquake during a performance in South America. However, at the State Fair Coliseum in Detroit Michigan on January 30th 1962, the front man in the act lost his balance, causing the collapse of the pyramid and the death of 2 members of the troop. Another member was paralyzed by the tragic accident. Karl Wallenda himself saved the girl on the top of the pyramid by catching and holding her on the second wire until a net could be rigged to catch them. The Wallenda's, despite the tragedy, gave an abbreviated performance the very next night. He continued to perform until his death in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1978, when he fell while performing a walk between two buildings. He was 73. His grandchildren continue the family tightrope walking tradition today.

Bio by: John Sheets

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 1611
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Karl Wallenda (21 Jan 1904–22 Mar 1978), Find a Grave Memorial no. 1611, citing Manasota Memorial Park, Bradenton, Manatee County, Florida, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .