Charles Blondin (born Jean François Gravelet, 28 February 1824 – 22 February 1897) was a French tightrope walker and acrobat.
Blondin went to the United States in 1855. He was encouraged 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 to cross the Niagara Gorge (on the Canada-US 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.
He did this first on 30 June 1859 amid scenes of great excitement in front of a crowd estimated at more than 5000 people.
He did it again a number of times afterwards, often 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 omelette, or standing on a chair with only one of its legs balanced on the rope.
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