3 . Philippe Petit

Philippe Petit


A self-taught high wire artist, Philippe Petit is best known for walking a tight rope between the then newly constructed Twin Towers in 1974. Petit got his start as a street performer in Paris, but soon began to conceive of using his wire act as a kind of performance piece at famous world structures. He soon walked across a wire on the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia, and then between the towers of the Notre Dame de Paris. His crowning achievement came in 1974, when he engineered a wire act between the two World Trade Towers. Using falsified documents, assumed names, disguises, and months of planning, Petit and a small band of accomplices managed to bypass the building’s security to get to the top floor of one of the towers. They used a bow and arrow to fire the tight rope from one building to another, and after securing it, Petit proceeded to perform on the wire for 45 minutes before giving himself up to police. All charges against him were eventually dropped, and he was even asked to perform again in Central Park for the children of New York City.