A daredevil is someone who is bold to the point of being reckless. Daredevils often pursue risky endeavors or feats which require both bravery and strong self confidence for success. The term “daredevil” is used also to refer to professionals like the late Evil Knievel, who performed daring stunts for a living. Some people also refer to professional stunt performers who work in film and television as daredevils, although this usage is of debatable accuracy.
In the sense of someone who is just recklessly bold, a daredevil can be someone who routinely engages in dangerous acts, or someone who pursues dangerous hobbies or careers. Many people think of people who are interested in extreme sports are daredevils, for example, since sports such as hang gliding require a certain amount of confidence. Parents may also use the term to refer to children who do dangerous things like climbing high trees.
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In the sense of a professional stunt person, a daredevil receives special training in performing dangerous tasks safety. In films, stunt people crash cars, stage fight scenes, and engage in other tasks that require training to be safe. A stunt person is chosen primarily on the basis of his or her abilities, and most films try to use stunt people with at least a superficial resemblance to the actors that they are standing in for. In some cases, a daredevil might have to suffer for the sake of the film; in the James Bond film Goldfinger, for example, stuntmen had to wear blonde wigs for a scene in which they were standing in for an all-female crew of pilots.
Although some people may refer to stunt people as daredevils, most stunt performers are far from reckless. They perform daring feats in very controlled environments, and they take a number of steps to ensure that the stunt will be safe. A stunt team on a film might rehearse a scene numerous times without volatile elements like explosives or moving vehicles until everyone is confident that the scene can be safely performed. Stunt doubles also stand in on more mundane scenes, not just for the dramatic and dangerous bits of a film or television show.
More commonly, a professional daredevil performs standalone stunts for their dramatic value. He or she usually has an organized performance in which a handful of challenging tasks are displayed for the public. Daredevils may broadcast their shows on television or sell tickets for monetary gain. Making a career as a daredevil is tough and dangerous work; it requires self promotion skills as well as stunt training.