Muhammed Ali’s “Father” – Gorgeous George

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Except for me, everyone I knew hated Muhammad Ali in the early 1960’s. He was loud, conceited, and obnoxious.  While the good “colored” boxers like Floyd Patterson spoke quietly and acted like gentlemen, Ali was jumping around the ring screaming “I AM the GREATEST!” I figured he was just acting.

He learned the act from wrestler George Wagner.

George was a mediocre wrestler in the dull 1950’s.  Although fixed even then, wrestling matches basically consisted  of two heavy guys in black briefs sweating from rolling around on the mat.  Arenas were half empty.  Then along came “Gorgeous George” to brighten things up.  He became a “cheating, dirty villain.”

People started coming through the turnstiles just to see him get his ass kicked.  And if he did lose (rarely) he’d cry, complain, and say the other guy cheated and should be disqualified! The “perfect” sore loser.

George was an anathema to wrestling fans,  He dyed his hair blond, wore a glitzy-elegant robe, had his own valet, and told referees to “keep your filthy hands off me.” George started acting effeminate in an age when gay people were officially deemed “sexual psychopaths.”

Thousands of fans filled the auditoriums with their hatred – and their money – just to see him get beaten.  And Gorgeous George (like Liberace) cried all the way to the bank.

More George: /www.google.com/

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