Don Curtis
Birth nameDonald Beitelman
Born(1927-05-22)May 22, 1927[1]
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
DiedMarch 6, 2008(2008-03-06) (aged 80)
Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Don Curtis
The Buffalo Bomber
Billed height6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Billed weight190 lb (86 kg)
Trained byLou Thesz
Debut1951[2]
Retired1981

Donald B. Curtis (born Donald Beitelman) (May 22, 1927 – March 6, 2008) was an American professional wrestler, best known for being a member of a tag team with Mark Lewin in the 1950s and 1960s. During his partnership with Lewin, they won the NWA World Tag Team Championship. Curtis was a wrestling promoter in Jacksonville, Florida until 1981.

Professional wrestling career

Beitelman decided to become a professional wrestler in 1951, after working out with Lou Thesz.[2] During his early career, he worked in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, appearing as "Don Curtis."[2]

In 1958 promoter Eddie Graham teamed Curtis with Mark Lewin.[2] Curtis and Lewin held the NWA United States Tag Team Championship (Northeast version) twice in 1958,[3] trading it with Graham and his "brother" Jerry.[2]

Curtis teamed up with Graham in May 1960 to win the NWA Southern Tag Team Championship (Florida version). He held the title with Joe Scarpa in October 1962; Cowboy Bob Ellis in March 1964; and Jose Lothario in March 1967.

In 1962, Curtis moved to Florida[2] and teamed with Joe Scarpa to win the NWA World Tag Team Championship (Florida version) from Kurt and Karl Von Brauner.[4] In January 1963, he won the title with Lewin from The Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Costello and Roy Heffernan).[2][4] After vacating the title, Curtis and Lewin regained it in December from the Assassins.[4] Lewin left the team the following month, and the title was once again vacated.[4] In May 1964, Curtis teamed with Abe Jacobs to hold the title for the last time.[4] In Jacksonville, Florida, Curtis promoted shows and managed the coliseum.[2]

Personal life and death

Curtis attended the University at Buffalo, where he played football and was an amateur wrestler.[2] He was the wrestling team captain during 1949 and 1950.[2]

After retiring from professional wrestling, Curtis worked in real estate as well as managing the Jacksonville Coliseum.[2] In 1980, he was inducted into the University of Buffalo Athletic Hall of Fame for wrestling and football.[5]

On February 26, 2008, Curtis suffered a "massive stroke", and his wife, Dotty, released a statement that it was "due to a blood clot breaking loose and hitting the left side of his brain." He was admitted into the Mayo Clinic Hospice facility that day, and died on March 6, 2008 at the age of 80.[5] In 2009, Curtis was posthumously inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum along with Mark Lewin (under the "Tag Team" category).[2]

Championships and accomplishments

See also

References

  1. ^ "Upstate NY". Archived from the original on 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2008-03-09.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Oliver, Greg and Steven Johnson (2009). "Mark Lewin and Don Curtis". Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. Archived from the original on 2009-11-25. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
  3. ^ Note:They were the first holders of the championship, defeating Hans Schmidt and Dick the Bruiser
  4. ^ a b c d e f Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  5. ^ a b "Don Curtis". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
  6. ^ "Kurt Angle and Don Curtis to enter Hall of Fame". WCFCourier. Retrieved October 17, 2011.