Steve Brodie (bridge jumper)

Steve Brodie (Bridge Jumper)

Steve Brodie (bridge jumper)

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Steve Brodie (December 25, 1861 – January 31, 1901) was an American from New York City who claimed to have jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge and survived on July 23, 1886. The resulting publicity from the supposed jump, whose veracity was disputed, gave Brodie publicity, a thriving saloon and a career as an actor.

Brodie's fame persisted long past his death, with Brodie portrayed in films and with the slang terms "taking a Brodie" and "Brodie" entering the language for "taking a chance" and "suicidal leap."

The alleged bridge jump

The bridge, then known as the East River Bridge, had opened just three years before Brodie's claimed jump. A swimming instructor from Washington, D.C. named Robert Emmet Odlum, the brother of women's rights activist Charlotte Odlum Smith, was killed while attempting the same stunt in May 1885.

The jump supposedly made by Brodie was from a height of , the same as a 14-story building. The contemporary New York Times account said the jump was from a height of about .

The New York Times backed his account of the jump and said that Brodie practiced for the leap by making shorter jumps from other bridges and ships' masts, and that it was witnessed by two reporters. He leaped into the East River, feet first, and emerged uninjured,...
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