Sailor Art Thomas

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Sailor Art Thomas
Sailor Art Thomas.jpg
Birth nameArthur Thomas
Born(1924-01-30)January 30, 1924
Gurdon, Arkansas, United States[1]
DiedMarch 20, 2003(2003-03-20) (aged 79)[1]
Cause of deathCancer
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Art Thomas
The Body
Sailor Thomas
Billed height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)[2]
Billed weight265 lb (120 kg)[2]
Billed fromFitchburg, Wisconsin[3][2]

Arthur Thomas (January 30, 1924 – March 20, 2003), better known as Sailor Art Thomas or Seaman Art Thomas, was an American Merchant Mariner, bodybuilder and professional wrestler.

A former WWA World Heavyweight Champion, Thomas was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Thomas was born in Gurdon, Arkansas, as the son of Alfred and Jessie (Lunon) Thomas. In 1935, he moved to Madison, Wisconsin. After his mother's death he was raised in a Wisconsin orphanage and in foster homes. [4][5]

Military career[edit]

Thomas spent twenty-seven months in the United States Merchant Marine. Serving in a construction battalion, Thomas helped build an airstrip in Guam.[5]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

After leaving the Merchant Marine, Thomas worked for Greyhound Lines before becoming a professional bodybuilder. After joining a bodybuilding troupe, he began touring the United States. After being spotted by promoter Jimmy Demetral, Thomas trained as a professional wrestler. He made his debut in 1943.[4] Thomas would usually be introduced as a "just discharged" Navy seaman, wearing a regulation "crackerjack" uniform and pea coat, and enter the ring as a plant to oppose the villain's dishonorable tactics.

Throughout the early 1960s, Thomas won a series of tag team championships around North America: the Worldwide Wrestling Associates International Television Tag Team Championship with Lou Thesz in California, the Maple Leaf Wrestling NWA International Tag Team Championship with John Paul Henning in Toronto,[6] and the NWA Detroit World Tag Team Championship with Bobo Brazil in Detroit.[4] In 1962 and 1963, Thomas won the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship in the Texas-based Southwest Sports promotion on two occasions.[4][7] Thomas also competed for the World Wide Wrestling Federation in the 1960s, teaming with Bobo Brazil and Bruno Sammartino.[2][8]

In April 1972, Thomas won the WWA World Heavyweight Championship of the Indianapolis-based World Wrestling Association, defeating Baron von Raschke. The title was held up the next month after a bout between Thomas and von Raschke.[4]

Thomas retired in 1981.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Thomas had seven children. He died of cancer only a month after being diagnosed with it.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Art Thomas". Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i ""Sailor" Art Thomas". WWE. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  3. ^ Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley. p. 263. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Greg Klein (2012). The King of New Orleans: How the Junkyard Dog Became Professional Wrestling's First Black Superstar. ECW Press. pp. 52–53. ISBN 978-1-77041-030-5.
  5. ^ a b Steven Johnson; Greg Oliver; Mike Mooneyham; J.J. Dillon (October 1, 2012). The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: Heroes and Icons. ECW Press. p. 324. ISBN 978-1-77090-269-5.
  6. ^ a b Harris M. Lentz III (2003). Biographical Dictionary of Professional Wrestling, 2d ed. McFarland. p. 155. ISBN 978-1-4766-0505-0.
  7. ^ a b Bill Watts; Scott Williams (January 2006). The Cowboy and the Cross: The Bill Watts Story: Rebellion, Wrestling and Redemption. ECW Press. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-55022-708-6.
  8. ^ Brian Solomon (June 15, 2010). WWE Legends. Simon and Schuster. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-4516-0450-4.

External links[edit]