Wildlife expert and conservationist Steve Irwin was born on this day in 1962. The son of two wildlife experts, Steve began working at his parents Reptile and Fauna Park in Queensland when he was a young boy, taking part in daily animal feedings and tending to the park’s maintenance. In 1991, he took over management of the park and renamed it Australia Zoo. Also in 1991, he met Terri Raines, an American naturalist, and the two fell for each other immediately. Steve and Terri spent their honeymoon trapping crocodiles together, and footage of their honeymoon later became the first episode of Irwin’s nature series The Crocodile Hunter. The series debuted in 1996 and soon became a worldwide hit, with Irwin’s enthusiasm, khaki shorts, and “Crikey!” catch phrase becoming known everywhere. The Crocodile Hunter ended in 2004, but Irwin continued to make appearances on talk shows like Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, as well as making a film appearance in Dr. Dolittle 2 and voicing a character in Happy Feet. What’s more, The Crocodile Hunter got its own big-screen feature film with The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course in 2002.
In 2006, Steve Irwin died after being stabbed in the heart by a stingray while filming a documentary called Ocean’s Deadliest. He was 44.