Monday, September 04, 2006
So-called Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, famed Austrian naturalist and scourge of the reptile world, has died today, felled by one of his mortal enemies.
While filming a children’s special about hunting and killing ocean-going crocs, Steve was ambushed and stung in the heart by a rogue stingray, the deadliest reptile in the sea.
“This was personal,” said one Queensland marine animal attack expert who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals. “This vicious act of animal terrorism must be avenged.”
The Early Years
Born Steve Weinstein, young Stevie spent his early years obsessed with killing insects, rodents, and small birds with his bare hands. It wasn’t until a rogue crocodile ate his parents that Steve turned his murderous wrath against the reptile world.
After a stint at Brown, Steve changed his name and tried his hand at acting, lured by the bright lights of Hollywood. But this dream soon turned into a nightmare as Steve found himself type-cast by the studio system as the “alligator wrestler guy.” Steve's one-dimensional characters were pitted against various animal killers in such B-movies as Snake Island, Anaconda, and Deliverance.
But then the unthinkable happened...
World War II
After a stint in the Australian Air Force, Steve starred in a series of documentaries to show Allied troops the twin dangers of reptiles and syphilis.
“Always use protection,” went one famous Irwin catchphrase. “In the bedroom and in the water.”
Inevitably this lead to Steve's beloved television series "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom."
Embodied Classic Struggle
Perhaps no single individual embodied the classic struggle of Man Versus Nature as much as Steve Irwin. One of the first scientists to realize the deadly threat that animals formed to humankind, Steve dedicated his life to ridding the world of those most pernicious of beasts, the water-borne reptiles.
“He loved to kill things,” said one colleague. “Crocodiles, alligators, snakes, turtles. He was making the world a better place.”
Ironically, his life story became the loose inspiration for the classic Hollywood film Crocodile Dundee.
“How Could This Have Happened?”
Not since the mysterious death of Dale Earnhardt has the world been as baffled by the demise of a pseudo-celebrity.
“Nobody saw this coming,” said a longtime friend and fellow New Zealander. “We all thought it would be cancer.”
Steve Irwin’s long quest to rid the world of crocodiles and alligators came to a tragic end today, media outlets report. Steve was 59. He will be missed by some.
Posted by Jon Black and Britt Bergman at 12:29 PM