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Steve Irwin ( 1962 - 2006 )  Category ( Television_Personalities ) [suggest a correction]

Steve IrwinStephen Robert Irwin, better known as Steve Irwin or "The Crocodile Hunter," was an Australian television personality, wildlife expert, and conservationist. His fame spread beyond Australia and around the world thanks to the television program, "The Crocodile Hunter." Along with his wife, Terri Irwin, he owned and operated the Australia Zoo, which was founded by his parents in Queensland, Australia.

Born into a family that was active in conservation and wildlife, Steve grew up around crocodiles, reptiles, and other animals. From the time he was a small child he was helping out at the Zoo, and he began to handle crocodiles at the age of nine. As a young adult he became a crocodile trapper, removing crocodiles from populated areas. As payment for the service he was allowed to keep the crocodiles for the park. In 1992 the Irwin family turned the park over to Steve to run. Also that year he appeared in a wildlife television special. In 1991 he married Terri Raines in her hometown of Eugene, Oregon. Footage from their honeymoon, spent trapping crocodiles, became the first episode of "The Crocodile Hunter." The series debuted in Australia in 1996 and, within a year, it was broadcast on American television and later in the United Kingdom. By 1999 the series was broadcast in 137 countries. The show's success often is attributed to Irwin's enthusiasm for wildlife, his strong, appealing Australian accent, his signature khaki shorts, and a favorite phrase, "Crikey!" By 2001 Irwin's fame had brought him to Hollywood, where he appeared in several cameo roles. In 2002 he starred in the feature film, The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course. In 2006, Irwin lent his voice for the animated film Happy Feet as an elephant seal named Trev. The film was dedicated to Irwin, as he died just before the film was released. Irwin was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to global conservation and Australian tourism. Shortly before his death he was to be named an adjunct professor at the University of Queensland's School of Integrative Biology. The position was awarded to him posthumously in 2007.

In September 2006, Irwin was fatally injured in the chest by a stingray spine while he was snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, located off the coast of Queensland. He was only 44 years old when he died, leaving his wife and two young children behind.

Image: Steve Irwin in Australia.

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