Sailor Art Thomas
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|Ring name(s)||"Sailor" Art Thomas
"Seaman" Art Thomas
|Billed height||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Billed weight||265 lb (120 kg)|
January 30, 1924|
|Died||March 20, 2003(aged 79)|
|Billed from||Fitchburg, Wisconsin|
Thomas was born in Gurdon, Arkansas, as the son of Alfred and Jessie (Lunon) Thomas. Early in his life he moved to Wisconsin. After his mother's death he grew up in a Sparta orphanage in Madison, Wisconsin.
After Merchant Marine service, Thomas worked for the Greyhound Bus Lines and developed an interest in bodybuilding. He started to tour the USA with other bodybuilders. Madison promoter Jimmy Demetral recognized his wrestling talent and began to book him for house shows. He debuted as a pro wrestler in 1943, starting a four-decade career. He would usually be introduced as a "just discharged" Navy seaman, wearing a regulation "crackerjack" uniform and peacoat, and enter the ring as a plant to oppose the heel's dishonorable tactics. Between the 50s and the 70s he was one of only a few African-American pro wrestling stars. During the 1960s he received thirteen opportunities to wrestle for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, including eleven against "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers between 1961 and 1963. Thomas continued to work as a wrestler until the early 1980s.
Thomas had seven children. He died of cancer only a month after being diagnosed with it.
Championships and accomplishments
- NWA International Tag Team Championship (Toronto version) (3 times) - with John Paul Henning
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