|Ring name(s)||Lou Albano|
|Billed height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Billed weight||350 lb (160 kg)|
July 29, 1933|
|Died||October 14, 2009
Westchester County, New York
|Billed from||Carmel, New York|
|Trained by||Arnold Skaaland
|Retired||1995 (as manager)|
Louis Vincent "Captain Lou" Albano (July 29, 1933 – October 14, 2009) was an Italian-born American professional wrestler, manager and actor. He was active as a professional wrestler from 1953 until 1969, then he became a manager, until 1995.
Throughout his 42-year career, Albano guided 15 different tag teams and four singles competitors to championship gold. Albano was part of the "Triumvirate of Terror," a threesome of nefarious WWF managers that also included The Grand Wizard of Wrestling and Freddie Blassie. The trio would be fixtures in the company for a decade, until the Grand Wizard's death in 1983.
A unique showman, with an elongated beard, rubber band facial piercings, and loud outfits, Albano was the forefather of the 1980s Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection. Collaborating with Cyndi Lauper, Albano helped usher in wrestling's crossover success with a mainstream audience. Capitalizing on his success, he later ventured into Hollywood with various television, film, and music projects.
Professional wrestling career 
World Wide Wrestling Federation 
He made little impact as a solo wrestler, working prelims in various circuits, but he achieved moderate success as a tag team performer with partner Tony Altomare. Dubbed The Sicilians, Altomare and Albano competed as a stereotypical Italian gangster combo in the mode of the then-popular television series The Untouchables. The pair won the Midwest tag team championship on the undercard of the June 30, 1961 Comiskey Park event starring Pat O'Connor and Buddy Rogers that set the all-time record gate in the United States to that point. Their realistic depiction of gangster characters caught the attention of actual mafiosi in 1961. A credible threat on their lives from actual mobsters occurred during a run as Midwest tag team champions, resulting in the pair abandoning the territory quickly enough that they did not lose the title before leaving. In July 1967, they won the WWWF United States Tag Team Championship from Arnold Skaaland and Spiros Arion. Albano and Altomare only held the championship for two weeks, a title change which was not even acknowledged on WWWF television outside the Atlantic City market. But several photographs of the pair with their title belts were taken, which elevated his reputation in the wrestling magazines of the time, and provided good publicity fodder later in Albano's career.
Following the encouragement of fellow wrestler Bruno Sammartino, who was also lobbying WWWF owner Vince McMahon, Sr., Albano retired from active wrestling in 1969 to focus on managing. Decades later, Sammartino recalled:
- "One day I said to Vince Sr., this guy [Albano] isn't the best wrestler, as a team, they [Albano & Altomare] can only go so far. But he'd be a great mouthpiece for some guy. Lou has such a gift of gab that he can help out some people. As a wrestler, he just seemed limited. He was always the same. He was never looked upon by promoters as someone who could be anyone special. But as a manager, he shined. That was his calling."
He transformed himself into the brash, bombastic manager Captain Lou Albano. With a quick wit and a grating personality, Albano delivered memorable promos and earned the scorn of the wrestling audience as he attempted to dethrone World Wide Wrestling Federation superstar and WWF champion Bruno Sammartino.
Albano described the strategy behind his overblown, ranting interview style:
- "I just remember the point I wanna bring across, and then I just babble before, during, and after. Somehow, in the middle, I said the two or three sentences that sold tickets. Mostly, I just tried to make people want to see me get my ass kicked, and along the way, hopefully the guy I was managing would catch a beating too!"
Albano's first high-profile protégé was Oscar "Crusher" Verdu, considered a poor worker and a mediocre attraction. Albano emphasized Verdu's physique and insisted that he had never been taken off his feet during a match. To rile up audiences, he also engaged in ethnic slurs, which were then a more common part of WWWF banter; Albano promised that Verdu would stomp on "that Italian"; the fact that Albano was known to be Italian himself only heightened the audience's reaction. Sammartino said, "They wanted to see me beat the hell out of Verdu to make Albano a liar. He could get the kind of heat that nobody else could." The result was a Madison Square Garden sellout when Verdu faced Sammartino in June 1970, the first for the company in five years and a then-record gate for a wrestling event in that arena. The record lasted only a month, when a rematch brought in over $85,000 in ticket receipts. After losing that match, Verdu quickly cycled out of the WWWF rotation, but Albano remained as the top heel manager for the next 15 years.
In January 1971, Albano was the manager when Ivan Koloff ended Sammartino's seven-year reign as champion. Koloff's title reign was a transitional one, lasting just three weeks. Koloff had had a typical heel run against Sammartino in 1969, but Albano spent months claiming that his previous manager had trained him incorrectly, and that Koloff would beat Sammartino under Albano's expert tutelage. The shock of Koloff's victory was such that the crowd fell totally silent, and Sammartino momentarily feared that he'd lost his hearing. Koloff and Albano were quickly rushed out of the ring by security without the championship belt for fear of a riot.
Albano then resumed his role as the mastermind trying to lead his latest bad guy protege to the gold. For the remainder of the 1970s, Albano's cadre of loyal henchmen were unable to re-secure the heavyweight championship, held by either Pedro Morales, Bob Backlund or Hulk Hogan. However, Albano guided singles wrestlers Don Muraco and Greg Valentine to the Intercontinental Championship. Furthermore, Albano guided fifteen teams to the WWF World Tag Team Championships, including The Valiant Brothers, The Wild Samoans, the Yukon Lumberjacks, The Blackjacks, The Moondogs, The Masked Executioners, and after becoming a good guy, the British Bulldogs. It was during his stewardship of the Valiant Brothers that Albano picked up his "Captain" nickname, as the act was promoted as "Captain Lou and the Valiants too." By the end of his career, Albano managed over 50 different wrestlers who won two dozen championships.
Albano could also help elevate wrestlers by splitting from them. In 1982, despite being managed by the villainous Albano, Jimmy Snuka was unexpectedly becoming a fan favorite due to his high-flying ring style. An interview segment revealed that Snuka had no legal contract with Albano, and thus was able to leave his manager. Shortly thereafter, a bloody beatdown by Albano, Freddie Blassie and Ray Stevens, helped transform Snuka into a sympathetic figure, and triggered the most successful period of his career. Albano had previously helped turn the villainous Intercontinental Champion Pat Patterson into a fan favorite, by "purchasing" Patterson's contract against his will.
Face turn 
Albano continued managing as a heel until December 1984, when he was attacked by his former allies Roddy Piper and "Cowboy" Bob Orton during an award presentation for pop music singer Cyndi Lauper at New York's Madison Square Garden. During 1984, Albano began collaborating with Lauper, appearing in several of her music videos and working with her to raise $4 million for multiple sclerosis. Lauper—who was presented a gold platinum record for her efforts with the Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection at the beginning of the segment—introduced Albano to recognize him for his help in raising MS awareness. Piper came into the ring to sarcastically praise Albano for his work before breaking a gold record plaque over his head. (Lauper and her boyfriend-manager David Wolffe were also attacked by Piper and Orton before Hogan ran in for the save.)
The attack segment turned Albano into a crowd favorite for the first time in his career. (His last two singles protégés, Valentine and Ken Patera, were paired with Jimmy Hart and Bobby Heenan, respectively, after Albano's face turn.) Although he continued his overblown, rambling interviews—one of the lead announcers for the WWF, Gorilla Monsoon, continued to refer to Albano as "The Fountain of Misinformation"—Albano was now leading fan favorites such as the U.S. Express, George Steele, the British Bulldogs and André the Giant into battle. The U.S. Express and British Bulldogs became the first tag teams to win the WWF Tag Team Championships with Albano as a "face" manager.
Cyndi Lauper's association with wrestling was entirely due to a random meeting with Albano on an airplane flight, and their pairing helped to elevate the WWF's success. On the wrestling shows, Albano claimed to have written all of Lauper's hit singles, and that he was actually her manager; Lauper appeared later to deny Albano's account, and it led to a match with Albano and Lauper as managers in opposing corners. The Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer wrote, "Without [Albano], wrestling history would have been monumentally different because if you take Lauper's involvement out of the equation, the early losses on expanding nationally and buying so much television time were on the verge of putting the company under... Without her, there would have been no MTV special, no national media publicity, and it's highly unlikely without it that the first WrestleMania would have been a success. If you take Albano';s participation out of the equation, there is a good chance the McMahon expansion would have hit an iceberg and died in early 1985... the attention garnered by the Rock & Wrestling Connection, stemming from that chance meeting on an airplane between Lauper and Albano less than two years earlier, led NBC to make the decision to air pro wrestling several times per year in the Saturday Night Live time slot."
Albano left the WWF in late 1986, making a one-time appearance on a "Piper's Pit" on an episode of Superstars of Wrestling in 1987 to ask Andre the Giant to reconsider his recent alignment with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. After a brief run in the UWF in 1991, where he hosted an interview segment, Albano returned to the WWF in 1994 to manage the newly face-turned Headshrinkers, helping lead them to the WWF tag team championship. He left in early 1995, making sporadic appearances as a guest from then-on, but never as a manager.
As a flamboyant and wild manager, Lou was a character who dressed in Hawaiian shirts, flip-flops and safety pin piercings containing dangling rubber bands. “I decided to wear the rubber bands just to be different".
Television and film 
Albano played a role in the Wise Guys (1986) film along Danny DeVito and also as the video game character Mario, Nintendo's mascot, in the live-action segments and the voice in the animated segments of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, which was a TV series made based upon the classic Nintendo hit Super Mario Bros. games. He also had roles in the TV series 227, Hey Dude, and Miami Vice and the 1992 film Stay Tuned, and had recurring appearances on the game show Hollywood Squares.
Lou Albano also played a bad guy spinoff of himself as the character "Captain Lou Morano", along with Dirk Benedict and Roddy Piper in the 1987 movie Body Slam. Other wrestling greats like Ric Flair, Freddie Blassie, and Bruno Sammartino also made cameo appearances in the film.
He also played the role of the father in Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", "Goonies 'R' Good Enough" and "She Bop" music videos, as well as a cook in the "Time After Time" music video.
Personal life 
Albano was born in 1933 in Rome, Italy to parents who emigrated to the United States shortly after his birth. Albano's father Carmen was a physician, and his mother Eleanor was a concert pianist. Lou grew up in Mount Vernon, N.Y. As a teenager, Lou played American football and wrestled at Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York, before receiving scholarship offers from 25 Division 1 schools upon his graduation in 1951. Choosing the University of Tennessee, Albano had conflicts with his coach and left after one year. He then joined the army, and began training as a boxer, but was not considered a serious heavyweight prospect due to his limited height and reach. Albano met some pro wrestlers while working as a bouncer, and began his career in Montreal in 1953, the same year as his wedding. Both the marriage and the career would last for the rest of his life.
The other Albano siblings are Vincent, George, Eleanor, and Carl, all of whom became teachers. Albano's brother, Carl, taught health for 32 years at Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and was head of the Ridgewood High health department from 1974 until 2001. Carl Albano's students have noted that he used his brother Lou as an example of the difference between crazy and unique. George C. Albano served as the Principal of Lincoln Elementary School in Mt. Vernon, NY and often brought Lou in to delight the school's students during their lunch hour.
During the 1990s, Albano shed 150 pounds (70 kg) following a health scare. In May 2005, Albano suffered a heart attack, but later recovered. Albano was sent home from the hospital and again began watching his health.
On October 14, 2009, Albano died in his sleep from a heart attack.He was 76 years old. Albano was survived by his wife Geri, four children and 14 grandchildren. He was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Putnam County, New York.
In wrestling 
- Wrestlers managed
- Tag teams managed
- Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito
- Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika)
- The Executioners (Executioner 1 and Executioner 2)
- The Mongols (Bepo and Geeto)
- The Yukon Lumberjacks (Yukon Eric and Yukon Pierre)
- The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid)
- The Headshrinkers (Samu and Fatu)
- The New Headshrinkers (Fatu and Sione)
- The Blackjacks (Blackjack Lanza and Blackjack Mulligan)
- The Valiant Brothers (Jimmy Valiant, Johnny Valiant and Jerry Valiant)
- The Machines (Super Machine, Big Machine and Giant Machine)
- The Moondogs (Moondog King, Moondog Rex and Moondog Spot)
- The U.S. Express (Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham)
- Assault and Battery ("Maniac" Jimmy Deo and "Outlaw" Maxx Crimson)
- "The Guiding Light"
Championships and accomplishments 
- Cauliflower Alley Club
- Other honoree (1995)
- New England Wrestling Alliance
- NEWA Hall of Fame (Class of 2011)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum
- World Wrestling Entertainment
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- "Lou Albano's WWE Hall of Fame Profile". WWE. Retrieved 2011-03-29.
- Shields, Brian (2006). "Captain Lou Albano". Main Event: WWE in the Raging 80s. Pocket Books. p. 120.
- Solomon, Brian (2006). WWE Legends. Pocket Books. pp. 38–43. ISBN 978-0-7434-9033-7.
- Associated Press (October 15, 2009). "Pro wrestler, music video icon Albano dies at 76". Retrieved October 15, 2009.
- "Wrestler, Pop Icon Captain Lou Albano Dies At 76". cbs5.com. October 14, 2009. Archived from the original on July 28, 2010. Retrieved October 15, 2009.
- "Kanaal van hailthysatan". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-03-19.
- Van der Griend, Blaine (October 14, 2009). "Captain Lou Albano passes away at 76". Slam! Wrestling. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
- Ellison, Lillian. First Goddess of the Squared Circle, pp. 166–167.
- "RIP CAPTAIN LOU - Heyman Hustle". Heymanhustle.craveonline.com. 2009-10-14. Retrieved 2012-03-19.
- Lou Albano – Rotten Tomatoes Celebrity Profile, retrieved on October 15, 2009.
- Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka vs. Ray "The Crippler" Stevens, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY, December 28, 1982, retrieved on October 15, 2009.
- Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka – Wrestling Legends – WWE Hall of Fame legend – Media Man Australia, retrieved on October 15, 2009.
- "WWF SUPERSTARS (1986-97)". Thehistoryofwwe.com. Retrieved 2012-03-19.
- "Captain Lou Albano, Wrestler and Showman, Dies at 76". nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
- Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley. p. 223. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
- "Actors, Actresses, Athletes, Celebrities & Famous People in Music Videos Database". Episodeguides.freeiz.com. Retrieved 2012-03-19.
- "SLAM! Wrestling review of Lou Albano's Autobiography". Slam.canoe.ca. Retrieved 2012-03-19.
- 15, 2004&pid=1415176 Carl M. Albano Obituary, retrieved on October 15, 2009.
- Pro wrestler, music video icon Albano dies at 76, retrieved on October 15, 2009.
- "Mr. Fuji & Mr. Saito Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved August 5, 2008.
- "Yukon Lumberjacks profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
- Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.83)
- PWI 500 5th edition winter issue
- ""Captain" Lou Albano's Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame bio". Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 2011-05-22.
- Meltzer, Dave (2012-11-12). "Nov. 12, 2012 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: WON Hall of Fame 2012 double issue, six men inducted, all the news and info from around the world and more!". Wrestling Observer Newsletter (Campbell, California): 8. ISSN 10839593.
- Foley, Mick (2000). Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-103101-1.
- Ellison, Lillian (2003). The Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle. ReaganBooks. ISBN 978-0-06-001258-8.
- "WWE Hall of Fame Profile"
- "Wrestling Museum Hall of Fame Induction Article"
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Lou Albano|
- Lou Albano on Posterous
- Lou Albano at the Internet Movie Database
- Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame profile
- WWE Hall of Fame profile
- Online World of Wrestling profile
- Lou Albano at Find a Grave
|Voice of Mario
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!
The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 & Captain N: The Game Master & Super Mario World