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 City, New York, U.S.
Died May 24, 1984(1984-05-24) (aged 69)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.
Cause of death Pancreatic cancer
Other names Vincent J. McMahon
Occupation Professional wrestling promoter
Spouse(s) Victoria Askew
(m. 1939; div. 1946)
Juanita Johnston
(m. 1956; his death 1984)
Children Roderick McMahon III
Vincent Kennedy McMahon
Parent(s) Roderick McMahon, Sr.
Rose Davis
Relatives Roderick McMahon Jr. (brother)
Dorothy McMahon (sister)
Family McMahon

Vincent James "Vince" McMahon (July 6, 1914 – May 24, 1984), commonly known as Vincent J. McMahon or simply Vince McMahon Sr., 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.[1] His father Roderick James "Jess" McMahon, Sr.,[2] 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.[3] 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 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, which was 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.[4] Despite its name, the WWWF was, like all professional 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.[5]

Unlike his son, McMahon 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 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.[4]

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."[6]

The younger McMahon's competitive tactics were successful, and the WWF quickly became the most prominent exponent of "sports entertainment".


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

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

On the February 15, 2016 episode of Raw, WWE announced they would give an award called the "Vincent J. McMahon Legacy of Excellence Award" and stated that "until now no one deserved this award". On the February 22 episode of Raw, Vince McMahon revealed that Stephanie McMahon had won the award.

Personal life and death[edit]

McMahon had two sons; Roderick McMahon III, and Vincent K. McMahon Jr. 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. McMahon would never live to see his company grow from a territorial promotion to what is now a worldwide organization. On May 24, 1984,[7] McMahon died from pancreatic cancer at age 69,[8] 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.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Vincent McMahon". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved September 20, 2009. 
  2. ^ Solomon 2006, p. 4.
  3. ^ Hornbaker, Tim (2007). National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly That Strangled Professional Wrestling. ECW Press. ISBN 1-55022-741-6. 
  4. ^ a b Ellison 2003, p. 92.
  5. ^ Ellison 2003, p. 96.
  6. ^ Johnson, William Oscar (March 25, 1991). "Wrestling With Success". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 20, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Vince McMahon Sr.". WWE. Retrieved March 31, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Vince J. McMahon memorial". Find a Grave. Retrieved April 16, 2016. 


External links[edit]