- Category : Entertainment-Circus-Animal-acts
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Planning 1
French tightrope walker and acrobat. His real name was Jean-François Gravelet, and he was known also by the names Charles Blondin, Jean-François Blondin, and called the "Chevalier Blondin", or more simply "The Great Blondin". When five years old, he was sent to the École de Gymnase at Lyon and, after six months training as an acrobat, made his first public appearance as "The boy Wonder". His superior skill and grace, as well as the originality of the settings of his acts, made him a popular favourite.
Blondin went to the United States in 1855. He was engaged by William Niblo to perform with the Ravel troupe in New York City and was subsequently part proprietor of a circus.
He especially owed his celebrity and fortune to his idea of crossing the Niagara Gorge (located on the American-Canadian border) on a tightrope, 1,100 ft (340 m) long, 3.25 in (8.3 cm) in diameter and 160 ft (49 m) above the water, near the location of the current Rainbow Bridge. This he did on 30 June 1859, and a number of times thereafter, always with different theatrical variations: blindfolded, in a sack, trundling a wheelbarrow, on stilts, carrying a man (his manager, Harry Colcord) on his back, sitting down midway while he cooked and ate an omelet and standing on a chair with only one chair leg on the rope.
He died of diabetes at his "Niagara House" in Ealing, London, on 22 February 1897.