Sailor Art Thomas

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Sailor Art Thomas
Sailor Art Thomas.jpg
Birth name Arthur Thomas
Born (1924-01-30)January 30, 1924
Gurdon, Arkansas, United States[1]
Died March 20, 2003(2003-03-20) (aged 79)[1]
Cause of death Cancer
Children 7
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Art Thomas
The Body
Hercules
Sailor Thomas
Billed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)[2]
Billed weight 265 lb (120 kg)[2]
Billed from Fitchburg, Wisconsin[3][2]
Debut 1943[2][4]
Retired 1981[2]

Arthur "Art" Thomas (January 30, 1924 – March 20, 2003), better known as Sailor 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. Early in his life he moved to Wisconsin. After his mother's death he grew up in a Sparta orphanage in Madison, Wisconsin.[5][4]

Military career[edit]

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[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 heel'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.[7][4] 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.

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Art Thomas". Cagematch.net. Retrieved May 15, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j ""Sailor" Art Thomas". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved May 15, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b 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 c Steven Johnson; Greg Oliver; Mike Mooneyham; J.J. Dillon (1 October 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 (15 June 2010). WWE Legends. Simon and Schuster. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-4516-0450-4. 
  9. ^ Mike Larson (9 January 2015). A Murder in Mundelein. iUniverse. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-4917-5699-7. 
  10. ^ Steven Johnson; Greg Oliver; Mike Mooneyham; J.J. Dillon (1 October 2012). The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: Heroes and Icons. ECW Press. p. 324. ISBN 978-1-77090-269-5. 
  11. ^ Keith Elliot Greenberg; Classy Freddie Blassie (15 June 2010). The Legends of Wrestling: "Classy" Freddie Blassie: Listen, You Pencil Neck Geeks. Simon and Schuster. p. 80. ISBN 978-1-4516-0426-9. 

External links[edit]