Which tight-rope walker gained fame by walking between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre?
Philippe Petit (born 13 August 1949) is a French high-wire artist who gained fame for his high-wire walk between the towers of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, 1971 as well as his high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, on the morning of the 7th of August 1974. For his unauthorized feat 400 metres (1,312 feet) above the ground – which he referred to as "le coup" – he rigged a 200-kilogram (440-pound) cable and used a custom-made 8-metre (30-foot) long, 25-kilogram (55-pound) balancing pole. He performed for 45 minutes, making eight passes along the wire. The following week, he celebrated his 25th birthday.
All charges were dismissed in exchange for him doing a performance in Central Park for children.
Since then, Petit has lived in New York, where he has been artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, also a location of other aerial performances.
He has done wire walking as part of official celebrations in New York, across the United States, and in France and other countries, as well as teaching workshops on the art. In 2008, 'Man on Wire', a documentary directed by James Marsh about Petit's walk between the towers, won numerous awards. He was also the subject of a children's book and an animated adaptation of it, released in 2005.
'The Walk', a movie based on Petit's walk, was released in September 2015, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit and directed by Robert Zemeckis.