Many people have heard of the notorious series of television shows and movies involved with Knoxville and his stunt-themed series. This show has always involved crazy, dangerous stunts that endanger the lives of the cast members more than the average prank show. One of the men behind this series is Johnny Knoxville. Knoxville was easily the mastermind behind this show, plotting the different stunts, pranks, and dangerous events that happened. He even moved on behind his infamous MTV stunt show into the world of Hollywood, still keeping some of the bad boy vibes behind him.
Other than the MTV show, people do not have in-depth knowledge of who the real Johnny Knoxville is. He has had a life before and after his claim-to-fame that would blow the minds of even some of his biggest fans. While he ultimately stays out of the tabloids, keeping his personal and work life separate, there are some bits of information out there that you can uncover. As we looked into his life, even our jaws dropped at some of the facts that we learned. We wanted to get you started and found fifteen different concealed facts about this daredevil’s life. Everything from his early life to present day life has been covered.
15 Johnny Knoxville Isn't His Real Name, Not Even Close
The man that we know and love as Johnny Knoxville is a man in his late-forties that worked his way into fame by doing incredible, yet dangerous, stunts to entertain viewers. This brown-haired stuntman was born in Tennessee, as per Biography. Now that people realize where he is from, it may be found to be funny that his last name is “Knoxville,” which is a notable place in Tennessee. What many people do not realize is that his last name and hometown are no coincidence.
Johnny Knoxville was actually born as Philip John Clapp, according to Biography; he was named after his father, Phil Clapp.
This name does not seem to fit the younger Clapp’s daredevil ways. Knoxville used his middle name as inspiration for his first stage name and his hometown as his last name. Thus, Johnny Knoxville was born. Knoxville never expected to become famous based on his crazy antics, but he wanted to have a name that fit his mischievous persona just in case he was able to hit the jackpot of fame. Johnny Knoxville is now a household name when referring to things that parents want their children to avoid or who young boys and girls want to be like when they grow up.
14 He Had A Lot Of Medical Issues As A Young Child
Johnny Knoxville has had a number of incidents during his time on Jackass that have endangered his life. He has ended up in the hospital and has had to have some different procedures in order to save his life after a dangerous stunt. He has also had a slew of concussions, which endanger his life each time he gets one, as concussions are considered to be relatively serious brain injuries, especially multiple.
Before he was a rebel on television, Philip John Clapp had a near-fatal experience. According to IMDB, at the age of eight, our favorite stuntman had multiple serious ailments at once. This included the flu, pneumonia, and bronchitis. As an asthmatic, Knoxville had problems breathing on a regular basis, requiring medical intervention. Adding all of this illnesses that infected his lungs made breathing even more difficult. Facing all of these at once, the younger Clapp/Knoxville almost lost his life. Luckily, he bounced back. It is possible that having a rough experience as a young child influenced his dangerous decision making in the future. Having a close call with the afterlife could have made him want to live every moment to the fullest, therefore becoming a stuntman.
13 Despite His Persona On The MTV Stunt Show, He Was An Honor Student And Was Always Praised For His Intelligence
When people put their lives in danger for their careers, specifically if it is not necessary, people question their intelligence. Surely, no one would put themselves in danger if they were intelligent unless they were doing it for the greater good, such as heroes like police officers and firefighters. Knoxville would put his life or parts of his body in danger in order to get better film footage.
Some people believe that actors and comedians turn to physical humor when they cannot think up anything more original.
Some may be surprised to find out that Johnny Knoxville, aka Philip John Clapp, was an honors student, according to Biography. He received only A grades in high school. This practical jokester was always on top of his studies. He even received a scholarship to a school for dramatic arts, but he only stayed at that school for half of a month before deciding he wanted to do more stunt-related work. This work did not come to him instantly, which had him turning to small acting roles and writing in order to provide for himself and his family. Little did Knoxville realize at the time, this would ultimately be the start of an unexpected, fulfilling career.
12 He Started His Stunt Career When He Was A Freelance Writer
Johnny Knoxville had been doing small commercial roles in order to keep food on the table for his family. According to Biography, Knoxville even tried to start writing a novel in order to make some money, but he did not end up finishing it. After a lot of trial and error, Knoxville created a unique idea to try to get himself known and established. He never anticipated that this plan would take him to the level of fame that he has reached.
According to Rolling Stone, Johnny Knoxville started his daredevil streak when he was a freelance writer. He decided a unique and creative idea would be to test out self-defense tools on himself in order to write and video about what it was like to be on the receiving end of these potentially dangerous tools. He created a video testing pepper spray, tasers, and other equipment on himself. According to Rolling Stone, he then submitted the footage and article from this to a magazine called Big Brother. The editor of this magazine thought his writing was atrocious, but that his concept and video were something that their audience may be interested in. He brought crazy to a whole new level, which got him a job.
11 He Gets His Sense of Humor From His Dad, His Dad Was The Pranking King
Johnny Knoxville has a very unique sense of humor. It is not every day that people put themselves in harm's way to get laughs out of their audience. Johnny puts himself and his friends right in harm's way. Nothing is off the table when it comes to making others laugh or pulling pranks.
According to Rolling Stone, Knoxville was not the first member of his family to have an enlarged funny bone. Phil Clapp, Johnny’s father, apparently had a gnarly sense of humor. According to Knoxville, his father treats every day like it is April Fools’ Day, a holiday known for practical jokes and slapstick humor.
Johnny’s father used to take his pranks pretty far, sending letters to his own friends pretending to be from a medical clinic.
He would send them scary, embarrassing diagnoses in the mail. When he was not almost tearing marriages apart, he was doing some of the physical comedy that Johnny has become known for. Johnny would often find himself soaking wet upon waking up from a deep sleep, as his dad would throw a bucket of water on him to awaken him. That sounds like one funny, yet stressful, household to grow up in.
10 One of His Films Was Oscar Nominated
In recent years, Johnny Knoxville has widened his career scope a bit. No longer was he just working on the Jackass film and television series. He decided to give Hollywood a real shot, taking some acting gigs in a variety of movies over the years. In 2013, Johnny Knoxville took the leap to create his own film. This film was considered to be presented by Jackass but was entitled Bad Grandpa. In this film, Knoxville starred as the grandfather in the film.
This movie featured Knoxville’s crude sense of humor, a variety of different stunts, and some shock-value. According to an interview that Knoxville did with Rolling Stone, it was a huge surprise to hear that Bad Grandpa was nominated for an Oscar or an Academy Award.
While this was not for Knoxville’s acting skills or stunt work, it was for the hair and makeup done to transform Knoxville from his fresh-faced self into a grandfather.
Getting an Oscar nomination is a huge deal in the world of movies. This was simply a passion project for Knoxville, not a chance to try to win awards. He has taken his career to the next level with a silly film.
9 This Daredevil Is A Father Of Three
Some people think that the stunts Johnny Knoxville and his friends perform are some of the scariest things they have ever seen. Many people will try to tear them down by hoping that the members of the Jackass crew do not reproduce. With some of the stunts that the men on Jackass do, it is a wonder that their reproductive organs work at all. The ill wishes from the haters are a little too late for some of them, especially for Knoxville.
According to Daily Mail, Johnny Knoxville is a father of three children. While he was married to Melanie Lynn Cates, Knoxville fathered a daughter named Madison, who is now in her early twenties. But the marriage between Knoxville and Madison's mother has been over for quite some time.
According to Daily Mail, Knoxville has two children with his current wife, Naomi Nelson. These children are both under ten years old. His son, Rocko, is the older of the two. Arlo, another daughter, is the youngest at approximately six years old. Knoxville enjoys getting to spend time with his children and has been photographed doing standard father-children bonding activities with them, including horseback riding, shopping, and getting treats.
8 His Inspiration Is Evel Knievel
Everyone has someone that has inspired them to do something. Whether this person has inspired them to be a certain type of way, pursue a specific career path, or support a charity, people can be the greatest motivation for changing who we are. Even Johnny Knoxville has someone that inspired him to start performing crazy stunts, even with his father being the jokester that he is. While his dad may have gotten him going as a young child, there is one more person that helped push Knoxville into the Jackass mindset.
According to Vice, Johnny Knoxville finds Evel Knievel to be a great source of inspiration.
Evel Knievel was one of the world’s biggest and most successful stuntmen in the history of television and film, so it is no wonder that Knoxville, a present-day daredevil, finds him inspirational.
Johnny surrounds himself with Evel Knievel merchandise. In his office, he has multiple images of Evel Knievel in action, including one from when he appeared in England, as per Vice. These pictures are behind the scenes images of what Evel Knievel would do in order to prepare for a stunt. Johnny just looks around to see these incredible pictures of a fellow daredevil and finds a new source of drive.
7 He Got His Real Start On MTV
While Johnny Knoxville pitched his self-defense tester idea to Big Brother magazine and eventually got picked up from there, it was not until about 2000 that Johnny really got his big break. During his time with Big Brother, Johnny met another daredevil stuntman that went by the name Steve-O. Together, they formed a friendship and partnership that would eventually become legendary. The decision to team up and work on creating a series together in which they, along with some other friends, would perform outrageous stunts and pranks, leaving viewers stunned and somewhat nauseous.
According to IMDB, Jackass the television show was picked up by the network MTV. This is where Jackass really picked up traction and became a household name, even if it was not for the right reasons. Due to the success of the television series, Johnny Knoxville was able to write the first movie in the franchise, entitled Jackass: The Movie for 2002. They continued to create more in the Jackass series through 2015, as per Knoxville’s IMDB profile. There have been additional television series, behind the scenes footage, and spin-off films in the series that have kept it going. Losing a member of the Jackass family slowed all of them down.
6 An Injury He Got Left Him Using A Catheter
Johnny Knoxville has been doing outrageous stunts since his days with Big Brother. These stunts have caused a number of injuries that could have been incredibly dangerous to Knoxville’s life. He has had broken bones, chipped teeth, ripped open skin, and concussions through his experiences with Jackass. He has done all of this in the name of entertainment and silly fun with his friends.
Even his friends have received serious injuries, but they, too, heal and go right back at it.
According to LAD Bible, Knoxville received a serious injury in 2007. This injury happened to his nether regions and was incredibly scary. Knoxville was paying homage to his hero, Evel Knievel, by trying to flip a motorcycle on a ramp. Everything did not go as planned, flinging Johnny off of the bike and having it land directly on his pelvis. Knoxville reported to LAD Bible that there was blood coming out of this sensitive area, which was cause for some alarm. Due to the nature of his injury, a catheter had to be inserted multiple times per day to prevent the build-up of scar tissue and to allow him to urinate properly. This sounds incredibly painful, but it has not held Knoxville back much.
5 He Has Been Doing A Lot Of Writing Lately
Although Johnny Knoxville has appeared in over forty different shows and movies, according to his IMDB page, he has done less and less acting since the passing of his good friend, Ryan Dunn. While he did appear in his film Bad Grandpa, that seems to be one of the last major films or shows that he appeared in. Dunn’s fatal accident truly had an impact on the entire cast of Jackass.
It appears that Johnny Knoxville has found other things to occupy his time. One of the things that he has seemed to focus on more since 2010 is writing. According to his IMDB page, Knoxville has written about seven different television shows and movies over the past eight years. These projects vary from Nitro Circus to Bad Grandpa. There is even an upcoming film that Knoxville wrote the story for, entitled Action Point. According to his Biography page, Knoxville did briefly attend a dramatic arts college, showing that he had an interest in more than just stunts. Now that he is doing more writing, we may start seeing him out and about a bit more frequently than before. It is possible that he will just stay behind the scenes from now on as well.
4 The Sudden Loss Of A Friend Slowed Him Down
Johnny Knoxville has lived a dangerous life. With the crazy stunts and antics that he and his friends pull, it is not surprising that many of them have sustained many injuries in their time doing this extreme stunt work. Unfortunately, the entire Jackass family has been ripped apart on a tragic day in 2011. No one has been the same since this unfortunate occurrence.
Earlier in this article, we mentioned the passing of Ryan Dunn. According to LAD Bible, Dunn was a cast member on Jackass alongside Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, and the other daring cast members. Dunn was driving a car when he suddenly crashed. Not only was Dunn fatally harmed as a result of the car accident, but a friend of his that was riding in the passenger seat also lost his life.
The entire cast/family took a step back from the dangerous stunts, realizing how short life can be.
Knoxville was particularly devastated. Many of them are still devastated by this sudden loss. They have all seemed to put their families, their health, and themselves first, therefore delaying any additional Jackass progress. The cast has discovered that life is short and it is very much so a gift.
3 His Newest Film Is One Of The Most Intense
Earlier in this article, we discussed how Johnny Knoxville was writing a new project entitled Action Point. Other than Bad Grandpa, this is one of Knoxville’s first major films since the passing of Ryan Dunn. This could have made the film go in two different directions. Knoxville had the choice to play it safe or to do it up bigger than ever as a tribute to Dunn. Guess which one he picked!
According to Vice, Action Point is going to be more intense than any of the Jackass films. A direct quote from Knoxville is: “I thought of the most painful stunts I could, and we made a film.” That is saying a lot from a man who almost fatally injured himself while filming one of the previous Jackass films.
With this film coming out in June of 2018, we will soon see Knoxville along with some of his former Jackass costars partaking in some of these extreme stunts. According to Vice, this will be based on a broken down theme park that Knoxville has chosen to run in order to put his friends through the ringer and truly test their abilities and pain tolerances. Apparently, Knoxville got his eye out of socket while filming. Yikes.
2 He Has Been Married Twice
Thinking of Johnny Knoxville doing regular-people activities is almost like trying to think of Santa living in Texas: it is nearly impossible and just seems so wrong. We know that Knoxville has three children varying in age from six to twenty-two, but imagining Knoxville partaking in a marriage ceremony, voluntarily, seems far-fetched. But maybe marriage, and 'settling' down, were just the thrill he needed in order to fulfill a certain element of his life?
Believe it or not, Knoxville has been married two different times, according to Daily Mail. Knoxville’s first marriage occurred in 1995 to Melanie Lynn Cates, the two had a child together but divorced in 2008.
According to Daily Mail, Johnny Knoxville fell in love with his current wife, Naomi Nelson, very quickly, and they actually got married within two days of Knoxville's proposal!
Not only did they get married incredibly quick, but Knoxville bought her a 2.5-carat ring to really seal the deal. The couple now has two children together and seem as happy as ever. Rocko and Arlo seem to be growing before our very eyes. It appears that Johnny loves being a father as much as he loves doing stunts.
1 One Of His Favorite Jobs Was In Little League
As one of the world’s most extreme practical jokers, it is hard to imagine Johnny having any kind of normal job. Before he was “Johnny Knoxville of Jackass,” he had other jobs to support himself and his family. He would take odd jobs to help him get by, especially when the jobs that he took were low paying. When speaking to Rolling Stone, Knoxville stated that one of his favorite jobs was as an umpire for Little League. This seems like it would not be a fit for Knoxville. Who would trust this daredevil with their children?
Knoxville claims that he loved this job because he loved working with the children, surprisingly enough. The parents were apparently incredibly kind and trusted him to make the right call. He was a fair umpire that called it how he saw it. The parents and children held a great sense of respect for him. Unlike parents today, he would not get yelled at for any questionable calls. This seems like it must have been a much more relaxing job than what he did for Jackass or for any of his other shows and films. His career path certainly took an interesting turn post-baseball.