Carl Boenish

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Carl Boenish
Born (1941-04-03)April 3, 1941
United States
Died July 7, 1984(1984-07-07) (aged 43)
Occupation Cinematographer

Carl Boenish (April 3, 1941 – July 7, 1984) considered the father of modern BASE jumping,[1] was a freefall cinematographer, who in 1978 filmed the first jumps from El Capitan using ram-air parachutes. These jumps were repeated, not as a publicity exercise or as a movie stunt, but as part of the development of a recurring recreational activity. This approach defined modern BASE jumping. These were the jumps that popularized BASE jumping more widely among parachutists, likely because Boenish filmed them and presented the footage exceptionally well. Boenish also published BASE Magazine to promote safety in this new sport. [2]

Boenish's cinematography work included the 1969 John Frankenheimer parachuting film classic The Gypsy Moths, starring Burt Lancaster and Gene Hackman, and a National Geographic Explorer segment on jumps from El Capitan.

His life and death is the subject of the 2015 film, "Sunshine Superman."[3]

Boenish died in a BASE jump off the Troll Wall in Norway, the day after completing a successful double BASE jump with his wife Jean Boenish for a “Guinness World Records” television special hosted by David Frost and young Kathie Lee Johnson, now Kathie Lee Gifford.[4]


  1. ^ Suddath, Claire (October 18, 2008), "A Brief History of BASE Jumping", TIME 
  2. ^ Di Giovanni, Nick. "BASE Jumping History". Retrieved 2007-02-05. 
  3. ^
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