|Birth name||Lucille Ann Casey|
|Born||September 29, 1938
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Ann Casey
|Billed height||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|Trained by||The Fabulous Moolah|
Casey was born in Saraland, Alabama, one of nine children to John and Viola Casey. John was of Irish ancestry; Viola was a Creek Indian. After the family moved to a Mississippi cotton farm, Casey attended an Agricola Indian school. Once she graduated, she married and had a son, but soon divorced.
Professional wrestling career
In 1962, while working at the ticket counter for a professional wrestling promotion, she met The Fabulous Moolah, who offered to train Casey to wrestle. Casey soon decided to take Moolah up on her offer and moved to South Carolina to train. Her first match was a tag team match that pitted her and Judy Grable against Rita Cortez and Brenda Scott that fall. Casey also wrestled Miss Brenda in a two out of three falls match for the opening of a December 1962 card also featuring Fred Blassie. While working under Moolah, Casey traveled all around the United States; she was also one of the first women to ever compete in a tag team match in the state of Hawaii. While in Hawaii, Casey fell in love with a local champion surfer and took a brief hiatus from wrestling.
Two years later, Casey returned to the continental United States and professional wrestling. She worked for promoters Vince McMahon, Sr., Vince McMahon, Jr., and Leroy McGuirk. During this time, she wrestled Donna Christanello at Madison Square Garden in New York. In 1964, she had a match that pitted her and Penny Banner against Cara Combs and Kathy O'Brien. The following year, she defeated Kay Noble in a match, but was defeated in another match by Bette Boucher. She was also defeated by Mae Young in a 1968 NWA United States Women's Championship match.
With Vivian Vachon as her partner, Casey defeated Donna Christanello and Cara Combs in a 1970 match. In 1972, Casey discovered that her son had gotten involved in drug trafficking with a truck driver, and after she forced him to stop, the truck driver shot her six times. Although the doctors told her that her professional wrestling career was over, Casey was able to wrestle again within several months. In 1974, Moolah offered to let Casey win the USA Women's Wrestling Championship from her, and Casey was subsequently never defeated for the belt. Later that year in December, Casey also won the vacated NWA United States Women's Championship by defeating Toni Rose in a match. She held the championship for approximately four years before losing it to Joyce Grable. Meanwhile, wrestling magazine Pro Wrestling Illustrated recognized Casey as the "Girl Wrestler of the Year" in 1975.
Casey's last match occurred in 1990, when she defeated Judy Grable to retain the USA Women's Championship. In 2004, she was honored by the Cauliflower Alley Club, an association for retired professional wrestlers.
Casey remarried and had a daughter in the 1970s. She still occasionally wrestled, and from 1980 to 1985, she worked for the Mississippi Forestry Commission. Afterward, she received her paralegal license, as well as a bachelor's degree in criminal justice with a minor in psychology from the University of South Alabama. After divorcing her second husband, she began working as a bail bondsman. Subsequently, she opened a restaurant and drove trucks.
Since retiring from the ring, Ann Casey has written her autobiography. It is titled ‘Autobiography of professional woman wrestler, Ann Casey,’ and subtitled: ‘The Lady, The Life, The Legend.’ Since 2009 Casey has been printing on demand and sending copies on request to her faithful fans. The book comprises more than three volumes and is over 1,000 pages long. A shorter adaptation of Casey's autobiography appeared in Brooklyn-based sports magazine Victory Journal in December, 2014, titled: "The Legend of Panther Girl", subtitled: "She fought to win. They shot to kill."
Championships and accomplishments
- Cauliflower Alley Club
- Honoree (2004)
- National Wrestling Alliance
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Girl Wrestler of the Year (1975)
- Other titles
- Kociaba, Bill. "Ann Casey: More than just a pretty face". Cauliflower Alley Club. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
- "The Legend of Panther Girl".
- "Fred Blassie defends title Saturday night". Rome News-Tribune. December 13, 1962. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
- "Autobiography review".
- Duncan, Royal and Gary Will (2006). "NWA Women's US Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. p. 197. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- Oliver, Greg (April 18, 2004). "Heenan given CAC's top honor". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
- Teal, Scott Winston (2009). The History of professional wrestling, Volume 4. Scott Teal.