Striplv Magazine - The Sexiest Magazine on the Planet, Issue 0217

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Page 69 of 79

Iconic Deaths in Pro Wrestling By Howard T. Brody While professional wrestling has been a part of Americana since the early part of the 20th Century, and contributed to the rise of television in the 1950s and cable TV in the late 1970s, for many fans of the squared circle, the Golden Era of sports entertainment was the 20-year span between 1980 and 2000. It was during this time that we saw the rise of national companies like the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). It was also during this time that we saw pro wrestling achieve mainstream coverage and many of its stars becoming media superstars. Unfortunately, many of pro wrestling’s biggest and brightest performers from that era are no longer with us as some have passed from natural causes, some from tragic accidents and some from more ominous circumstances. Here is a bit of a “Who’s Who” from that era. Let us remember. André the Giant He literally and figuratively was the biggest star of the period. When he faced Hulk Hogan in the main event of WrestleMania III – before 93,173 fans at He literally and figuratively was the biggest star of the period. When he faced Hulk Hogan in the main event of WrestleMania III – before 93,173 fans at Pontiac’s Silverdome in 1987 – he had already been in the business 24 years, having started when he was only 17. Billed as “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” André was considered wrestling’s first mainstream star of that era. In the 1970s he appeared as Bigfoot on the TV show “The Six Million Dollar Man,” fought boxer Chuck Wepner at Shea Stadium in which he threw Wepner over the top rope and out of the ring, and was even offered a tryout by the Washington Redskins for their defensive line. In the 1980s he appeared in several TV shows and movies with his most memorable role of Fezzik in “The Princess Bride.” In January 1993 André, 46, died in his sleep of congestive heart failure. “MACHO MAN” RANDY SAVAGE AND MISS ELIZABETH For fans, they were the perfect wrestling couple. The charismatic, rugged and raspy-voiced Superstar paired with the quiet yet beautiful valet who helped him go from bad guy to good guy. Savage became so popular he landed a gig as a spokesman for Slim Jim and incorporated his wrestling catch phrase “Oh Yeah!” with that of the company’s slogan “Snap into a Slim Jim!” They were real life husband and wife who married in 1984 but divorced in 1992. In May 2003, Elizabeth, 42, was found unconscious by then boyfriend Lex Luger, who attempted to resuscitate her. Medical examiner records listed her death as “acute toxicity” from a mixture of painkillers and vodka. In May 2011, Savage, 58, passed from a sudden heart attack, suffered while driving. He became unresponsive and lost control of his auto, crashing into a tree. Captain Lou Albano A wrestler during the 1950s and ‘60s, Albano achieved mainstream fame as a wrestling manager and thanks to a friendship he forged with David Wolff, Cyndi Lauper’s then boyfriend and manager, he was at the center of the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection. After Captain Lou got exposure on MTV in the music video “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” playing Lauper’s father, he landed roles in the 1986 Brian De Palma film “Wise Guys” and TV shows like “Miami Vice.” Albano was then cast in the role of a lifetime as Nintendo’s mascot, Mario, in the live-action and animated segments of the TV show “The Super Mario Brothers Super Show!” In October 2009, Albano, 76, passed from a massive heart attack while residing in hospice.

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