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Sailor Art Thomas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Seaman Art Thomas
Birth nameArthur Thomas
Born(1924-01-30)January 30, 1924
Gurdon, Arkansas, U.S.[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 WWA World Heavyweight Champion, Thomas was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016.[1][2]

Early life


Thomas was born in Gurdon, Arkansas, 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


Thomas spent 27 months in the United States Merchant Marine. Serving in a construction battalion, Thomas helped build an airstrip in Guam.[5]

Professional wrestling career


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 from 1963 to 1964, 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


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

Championships and accomplishments



  1. ^ a b c "Art Thomas". Cagematch.net. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i ""Sailor" Art Thomas". WWE.com. 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.
  9. ^ *Will, Gary; Duncan, Royal (2000). "Texas: NWA Texas Heavyweight Title [Von Erich]". Wrestling Title Histories: professional wrestling champions around the world from the 19th century to the present. Pennsylvania: Archeus Communications. pp. 268–269. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  10. ^ "NWA Texas Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved March 30, 2017.