Adrian Avenue obituary


Approaching the ring, his face painted and adorned with sequins, and wearing a gown trimmed with feather boa, DayGlo trunks and platform boots, “Unique” Adrian Avenue, who has died aged 82, was knowledgeable wrestler who greater than lived as much as his nickname, on either side of the Atlantic.

Though within the late Nineteen Forties, Beautiful George’s dyed blond curls and exaggerated flamboyance had made him the most important attraction within the early days of American tv, Avenue’s persona was one thing completely different, melding ambiguous sexuality with intelligent distortions of conventional ring villainry delivered in a powerful bodily model. The WWE president and former wrestler Triple H (Paul Levesque), known as Avenue a “genre-bending pioneer whose larger-than-life presence and ruthlessness between the ropes modified the wrestling world for ever”.

Avenue’s affect prolonged past the wrestling world. The glam-rocker Marc Bolan admitted to modelling himself on Avenue. The Turner prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller, whose set up So Many Methods to Damage You (The Life and Instances of Adrian Avenue) appeared on the 2010 São Paulo biennial, was drawn to a 1973 photograph of Avenue’s return, as European middleweight champion, to the Blaina colliery, the place he caught his father, Emrys, arising from the pits the place he had labored for 50 years. Deller known as Avenue “symbolic of the [journey] Britain took on the time … from a rustic that relied on trade, to at least one that has since relied on leisure and providers … he was a trailblazer”. It was additionally “a revenge {photograph} …going again to the pit, the place he’d been bullied, teased and laughed at, to point out his father and the blokes within the pit what he’d fabricated from himself and the way proud he was of how he seemed”.

Avenue was born in Brynmawr, within the south Wales valleys, the second of three kids of Nora (nee Foster) and Emrys, a coalminer (and son of a coalminer) who was on wartime service, on the best way to Singapore, on the time of Adrian’s beginning. Adrian didn’t meet his father till after Emry’s launch from a Japanese jail camp in 1945. Their relationship was antagonistic; at 15 Adrian was taken out of faculty and despatched down the mines, which he described as too darkish for somebody who “sought the highlight”.

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Avenue in Pasolini’s The Canterbury Tales (1972). {Photograph}: Adrian Avenue

He left residence at 16 and moved to London. A eager bodybuilder, he offered footage to bodybuilding magazines and labored at fairground boxing for £1 a struggle. He was educated by Stylish Osmond and Mike Demitre. The American wrestlers he admired had been Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers and Don Leo Jonathan. Billed as Child Tarzan Jonathan, Avenue made his professional debut in a important occasion on the New Addington resort, Croydon, towards Gentleman Geoff Moran. As Avenue informed it, he dislocated Moran’s shoulder in underneath two minutes, infuriating each Moran and the promoter.

As Adrian Avenue he first wrestled with a teddy-boy quiff, then bleached it and known as himself “Nature Boy” in homage to Rogers. He appeared on ITV’s World of Sport, and was profitable in tag groups: “The Welsh Wizards” with Tony Charles, and “Hell’s Angels” with “Dangerous Boy” Bobby Barnes. He performed the “heel” (unhealthy man) brilliantly; kissing his opponent to flee a harmful scenario, then masking him with make-up when he had put him down with a dastardly manoeuvre. After one tag match towards “Mr TV” Jackie Pallo and Jackie Jr, Pallo defined how disgusting he discovered Avenue’s kisses: “Junior doesn’t thoughts them, although.”

By 1970 when he went to All-Star Wrestling and gained their middleweight title quite a few occasions, he was totally Unique Adrian, to the purpose the place the TV celeb Jimmy Savile, who had wrestled from the 50s onwards, was aping elements of his act. Years later, after Savile’s little one abuse was revealed, Avenue attracted consideration for recalling a 1971 match in Nottingham. He had injured the champion George Kidd in a match, and whereas awaiting their title rematch, he was requested to wrestle Savile and carry him to a draw to please the massive crowd anticipated. Insulted by the suggestion, and already disliking Savile, he bodily punished the disc jockey, even tearing out his hair whereas holding him the other way up. Years later Avenue stated if he had recognized Savile’s true nature, he would have damage him far more.

In the meantime, he had a task in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1972 movie The Canterbury Tales; he would additionally seem within the caveman epic Quest for Fireplace (1981) and Grunt! The Wrestling Film (1985).

In 1969 Avenue met Linda Gunthorpe Hawker whereas shopping for goldfish in a pet store. He invited her to look at a match and shortly she was his companion out and in of the ring. She started wrestling with a Native American gimmick as Blackfoot Sioux. Then, billed as Miss Linda, she turned Avenue’s valet, an idea copied by many wrestlers. She carried his make-up to the ring, combed his hair between rounds. He typically entered the ring by strolling over her again.

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Avenue together with his spouse Linda, November 1975. {Photograph}: Adrian Avenue

A decade later, Avenue was fed up with the highest promoter Max Crabtree pushing his brother Shirley, AKA “Massive Daddy”. The detest was mutual. “He’d present his personal elements on tv if he thought he’d get consideration,” Crabtree informed the author Simon Garfield. Avenue and Miss Linda left Britain for Stampede Wrestling, in Calgary, Canada, earlier than spending the following 20 years principally in regional promotions within the American south.

In Mid-South Wrestling he feuded with “Celebrity” Invoice Dundee. He labored effectively with Dusty Rhodes within the Florida and Mid-Atlantic territories; Rhodes’s son Dustin later wrestled in WWE as Goldust, a homage to Unique Adrian. However he thrived for years in Ron Fuller’s Continental Wrestling, as soon as even surprising followers by turning “babyface” (good man) to avoid wasting “Bullet” Bob Armstrong from Fuller’s Stud Steady. Regardless of Avenue being a regional reasonably than a nationwide star within the US, Wrestling Observer Publication readers voted Unique Adrian the “finest gimmick” of 1986.

Settling in Gulf Breeze, Florida, Avenue and Linda ran the Cranium Krusher Wrestling College and the Weird Bazaar, which designed costumes for wrestlers, together with Mick Foley’s Dude Love swimsuit and Mickey Rourke’s gear within the 2008 film The Wrestler. In 2005, whereas being honoured at a Cauliflower Alley Membership wrestling occasion, Avenue proposed to Miss Linda; they had been married with Don Leo Jonathan serving as finest man. Avenue gained the NWA Alabama title in 2010, and wrestled his final match in 2014.

Beginning with I Solely Giggle When It Hurts (2012), he printed seven volumes of memoirs, with titles together with Sadist in Sequins or Think about What I May Do to You. The latter turned the title of a tv profile produced by the WWE Community. After Avenue and Linda returned to Wales in 2018, Joann Randles, impressed by Deller’s exhibition, produced and directed a 2019 documentary movie about Avenue known as You Could Be Fairly However I Am Stunning.

Avenue is survived by Linda. He had three kids, Adrian, Vince and Amanda, from his first marriage, in 1962, to Jean Dawe, which led to divorce.


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