Though I was never a huge fan, I always had an awareness of and respect for the trailblazer born in Tookiedoo SC. Until I read her obit I never knew how long and distinctive a career she’d had. Further reading suggests Miss Moolah may have died from complications from shoulder, perhaps shoulder replacement surgery. The world just got a lil more boring.
Friends wrestle with loss of Fabulous Moolah
Famed female wrestler from Columbia dies at age 84
LEE HIGGINS | thestate.com | Sun, Nov. 04, 2007
In the scripted, fabulist world of wrestling, the Fabulous Moolah was all real.
She wore bling before anyone called it that. She was a showman who clearly was all-lady.
â€œI love old people and I love babies,â€ she told The State in 2005. â€œAnd if anybody else steps in my way, Iâ€™ll just kick (their butt). Thatâ€™s the way it is.â€
The Fabulous Moolah, the legendary female wrestler who called Columbia home and became the first female inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame, died Friday.
She was 84.
Born Mary Lillian Ellison in 1923, she was raised in the Tookiedoo neighborhood near Blythewood â€” the youngest and only girl of 13 children. Her mother died of cancer when Ellison was 8.
Father-daughter time for Ellison meant attending weekly pro wrestling matches in Columbia.
Ellison was trained in the ring in the 1940s by then-womenâ€™s champion Mildred Burke â€” the sportâ€™s biggest star at the time, according to the WWE.
Moolah held the worldâ€™s championship for 28 years, from 1956 to 1984.
The next year, she won it again for two more years.
In 1999, at age 76, she reclaimed the title for a final time.
She acquired her â€œMoolahâ€ moniker when a wrestling promoter asked her why she wanted to wrestle.
Her response: â€œFor the money! I want to wrestle for the moolah!â€
Moolahâ€™s signature move? The â€œBackbreaker,â€ according to WWE.
Her daughter, Mary Austin, 66, of Myrtle Beach, said Saturday night from her motherâ€™s home on Moolah Drive that Ellison, who had six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, loved her family and wrestling.
â€œShe was famous, but I never looked at her that way,â€ Austin said. â€œShe was just Mom, someone that was always there for me. Someone I could turn to.â€
Professional wrestlers mourned the loss on the WWE Web site.
Katie Glass, 63, of Columbia, also known as â€œDiamond Lil,â€ a former professional midget wrestler for 25 years, was taken under Ellisonâ€™s wing when she was 17.
Glass saw Ellison wrestle in Richmond, Va. Ellison took Glass to live with her in Columbia and coach her.
â€œShe just taught me the basics, the holds, how to get somebody down, lock them down and everything,â€ Glass said Saturday night.
Glass is struggling with the death.
â€œItâ€™s gonna be hard, Iâ€™ll tell you. Weâ€™re doing the best we can. She was there for me. Sheâ€™s a very nice lady. Iâ€™m gonna miss her dearly and I love her very much.â€
In 2005, Ellison was featured in a documentary film, â€œLipstick & Dynamite: The First Ladies of Wrestling.â€ Moolah also wrote an autobiography, â€œThe Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle.â€
Funeral arrangements have not been set.