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Biography of Famous Wrestler Gorgeous George Part 3

About the famous American wrestler Gorgeous George, history and biography of the entertainer.

SIDESHOW OF POPULAR AND OFFBEAT PERFORMING AND CREATIVE ARTISTS

"Gorgeous" George Raymond Wagner (1915-1963)

George was a ham at heart with a wonderful sense of humor, both in and out of the ring. When a female fan heckled him, he said, "I told you not to come down tonight, Mother." He enjoyed playing jokes, which he called "swerves," on people. He developed an effeminate manner and enjoyed exaggerating the swishy role. He paid careful attention to detail and had a quick temper. His act was considered overplayed by critics, but fans, about 40% of whom were female, whistled and jeered.

Although imitators tried, they couldn't match George. He would sit in a hotel lobby until he was given new linens and his room was sprayed by his valet. Any hand he shook had first to be sprayed by his valet. He rode in a purple Cadillac.

George was very secretive about his personal life. He married twice, the first time in 1939 in the ring to Betty Hanson, a cashier in a Eugene, Ore., movie theater. They adopted two children, Carol and Don (known as Georgeous George, Jr.). Betty divorced him in 1952.

He later married Cherie, a dancer-model he met in Las Vegas. She was his attendant for a while. When George lost a match to Whipper Watson in 1959, he kept a promise to his fans. He had promised that if he lost to Watson at that rematch, he would allow his hair to be cut off. Fourteen thousand spectators watched the cutting. He later demanded another rematch and bet Cheries's hair. Again he lost, and Cherie's long red locks were sheared.

By 1962 George's drinking was taking its toll. Doctors diagnosed a serious liver ailment and advised him to give up wrestling. Cherie divorced him that year.

He and Cherie had one son. George was so broke in 1963 that he made the boy a skateboard for Christmas. He had a heart attack on Christmas Eve and died two days later at the age of 48. He had a stripper girl-friend at the time, who took up a collection to bury him.

The coffin was appropriately covered with orchids. About 500 fans attended. He is buried in Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, Calif. His grave is marked by a plaque imbedded in the grass. The inscription reads:

Love To Our Daddy

Gorgeous George

1915-1963

Carol and Don

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