Sailor Art Thomas
|Sailor Art Thomas|
|Birth name||Arthur Thomas|
January 30, 1924|
Gurdon, Arkansas, United States
|Died||March 20, 2003(aged 79)|
|Cause of death||Cancer|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Billed height||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Billed weight||265 lb (120 kg)|
|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.
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. 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, and the NWA Detroit World Tag Team Championship with Bobo Brazil in Detroit. In 1962 and 1963, Thomas won the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship in the Texas-based Southwest Sports promotion on two occasions. Thomas also competed for the World Wide Wrestling Federation in the 1960s, teaming with Bobo Brazil and Bruno Sammartino.
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.
Thomas retired in 1981.
Thomas had seven children. He died of cancer only a month after being diagnosed with it.
Championships and accomplishments
- Big Time Wrestling
- Maple Leaf Wrestling
- NWA International Tag Team Championship (Toronto version) (3 times) – with John Paul Henning
- Southwest Sports
- World Wrestling Association
- Worldwide Wrestling Associates
- "Art Thomas". Cagematch.net. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
- ""Sailor" Art Thomas". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
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