Vince McMahon, Sr.

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For his son, see Vince McMahon.
Vince McMahon, Sr.
Vince McMahon Sr.jpg
Born Vincent James McMahon
(1914-07-06)July 6, 1914
Harlem, New York, New York
United States
Died May 24, 1984(1984-05-24) (aged 69)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Cause of death Pancreatic cancer
Residence Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Nationality American
Other names Vincent J. McMahon
Vince McMahon, Sr.
Occupation Professional wrestling promoter
Spouse(s) Vicky H. Askew (divorced)
Juanita W. McMahon
Children Roderick McMahon III
Vincent Kennedy McMahon
(born August 24, 1945)
Parent(s) Roderick James McMahon
Rose E. Davis
Family McMahon

Vincent James "Vince" McMahon[1] (July 6, 1914 – May 24, 1984) was an American professional wrestling promoter. He is best known for running the Capitol Wrestling Corporation (subsequently renamed as the World Wide Wrestling Federation and World Wrestling Federation during his tenure, and currently named WWE) from 1954 to 1982, and fathering his successor, Vincent Kennedy McMahon.

Early life[edit]

Vincent James McMahon was born on July 6, 1914, in Harlem, New York.[2] His father Roderick James "Jess" McMahon, an Irish American, was a successful boxing, wrestling and concert promoter who had worked with legendary Madison Square Garden promoter Tex Rickard, and his mother Rose, was a New Yorker of Irish descent. He had an older brother, Roderick Jr., and a younger sister, Dorothy. As a child Vince would often accompany his father to Madison Square Garden where he would play, and later, begin learning the family business.

Professional wrestling[edit]

McMahon saw the tremendous potential for growth that the pro wrestling industry had in the era following World War II, especially with the development of television and its insatiable need for new programming. Similar to boxing, wrestling took place primarily within a small ring and could be covered adequately by one or two cameras, and venues for it could readily be assembled in television studios, lessening production costs.

McMahon's group, the Capitol Wrestling Corporation (later renamed World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF)) came to dominate professional wrestling in the 1950s and 1960s in the nation's most populous area, the Northeast. His control was primarily in Baltimore, New York, and New Jersey.[3] (Despite its name, the WWWF was, like all pro wrestling promotions of its time, mostly a regional operation. It was however the one that came to dominate the most lucrative region).

In 1955, McMahon began airing his matches on television on Wednesday nights on the DuMont Network. The telecast originated from an old barn in Washington, D.C. It was one of the struggling network's last live sports telecasts before it went out of business the following year; however, WABD, DuMont's flagship station in New York (Now Fox-owned WNYW), kept the show after becoming an independent station, airing wrestling on Saturday nights until 1971.

In her biography, wrestler The Fabulous Moolah claimed that McMahon was one of the first promoters to split gate proceeds with his wrestlers.[4]

Unlike his son, McMahon Sr. believed that the job of a promoter should be kept backstage or behind the scenes and should never interfere with the action in the ring. As a result McMahon almost never came down to the squared circle. He can however clearly be seen standing ringside during the infamous Madison Square Garden "Alley Fight" between Sgt. Slaughter and Pat Patterson. Though McMahon Sr. appeared in the movie The Wrestler in a cast that was dominated by contemporary wrestlers, he believed that wrestlers should remain wrestlers and not branch off in to other forms of media. Accordingly, he disapproved of Hulk Hogan's appearance in Rocky III in 1981, leading to Hogan's temporary departure in favour of Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association. When his son, McMahon Jr., purchased the WWF, he felt differently than his father on the issue. He rehired Hogan as his top star and avidly supported wrestlers branching out in to other fields, as well as cross-promotions with various musicians, actors, and other personalities outside of wrestling.[3]

In 1982, McMahon sold the parent company of the World Wrestling Federation to his son Vincent Kennedy McMahon and his company Titan Sports, Inc. The younger Vince, much to his father's initial concern, set out to make the WWF national and eventually worldwide in scope. "Had my father known what I was going to do", the younger McMahon told Sports Illustrated in 1991, "he never would have sold his stock to me."[5]

The younger McMahon's competitive tactics were successful, and the WWF quickly became the most prominent exponents of "Sports Entertainment".


McMahon Sr. would never live to see his company grow from a territorial promotion to what is now a worldwide organization. On May 24, 1984,[1] McMahon died from pancreatic cancer at age 69, four months after Hulk Hogan defeated The Iron Sheik for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship in Madison Square Garden, launching Hulkamania and the '80s wrestling boom. He is buried in Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


Vincent Kennedy McMahon is still running his father's promotion, which since 2002 has been called World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). McMahon, Sr.'s grandchildren Shane and Stephanie have also worked for the WWF/WWE, although Shane resigned his position in January 2010.

Vincent J. McMahon was inducted in to the WWE Hall of Fame class of 1996 by his grandson Shane.

Personal life[edit]

McMahon had two sons; Roderick McMahon III, and Vincent K. McMahon with his first wife Vicky H. Askew (born 1920) in 1945. McMahon married his second wife, Juanita W. Johnston (December. 20, 1916 - January. 19, 1998), and the couple lived in Fort Lauderdale.

According to many wrestlers and former employees, McMahon had the lifelong habit of carrying rolls of quarters and stacking them in his hand as a way of concentrating.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Vince McMahon Sr.". WWE. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  2. ^ "Vincent McMahon". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved September 20, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Ellison, Lillian (2003). The Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle. ReaganBooks. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-06-001258-8. 
  4. ^ Ellison, Lillian (2003). The Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle. ReaganBooks. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-06-001258-8. 
  5. ^ Johnson, William Oscar (March 25, 1991). "Wrestling With Success". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 20, 2009. 

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