Harley Leland Race

Harley Leland Race

Birth
Quitman, Nodaway County, Missouri, USA
Death 1 Aug 2019 (aged 76)
Saint Charles, St. Charles County, Missouri, USA
Burial Quitman, Nodaway County, Missouri, USA
Memorial ID 201249302 · View Source
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Professional Wrestler. He wrestled in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), the American Wrestling Association (AWA), the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE), and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He was a nine-time world champion, having won the WWA World Heavyweight Championship once and the NWA World Heavyweight Championship eight times and he was the first NWA United States Heavyweight Champion. He was one of six men to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, the NWA Hall of Fame, the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame. He started training as a teenager under former world champions Stanislaus and Wladek Zbyszko. While in high school, at 6 feet 1 in and 225 pounds, he decided to get his start in professional wrestling. He was recruited by St. Joseph wrestling promoter eventually wrestling on some of his shows and received training from some veteran wrestlers. He moved to Nashville at the age of 18, began wrestling under the ring name of Jack Long and formed a tag team with storyline brother John Long. The duo quickly captured the Southern Tag Team Championship. He was seen as a rising star in the business until a car accident put him out of action, with his leg coming close to being amputated. Married just over a month, his first wife, who was pregnant, died instantly. His employer rushed to the hospital and stopped the planned amputation, declaring it "over my dead body." In doing so, he saved Race's leg. Although he recovered, doctors told him that he might never walk again, and that his wrestling career was over. Undaunted, he endured grueling physical therapy for several months and made a full recovery. He returned to the ring two years later as the Great Mortimer in 1963. He then started wrestling in Texas in 1964 as Harley Race after his father told him that he should not work to make anyone else's name famous. Race never again used a different ring name. During a house show match in St. Joseph, Missouri on December 7, 1990, he received a shoulder injury and would retire from active competition. He would go on to be a promoter and trainer for names like Lex Luger, Big Van Vader, Super Invader and Vinnie Vegas. He did return to the ring a final time on a trio of Florida house shows (November 26, 27 and 28, 1993), when he substituted for an injured Vader to face Ric Flair. His former rival would come out victorious on each occasion. These would be the last wrestling matches of his career. As his early wrestling career had been nearly derailed due to a car accident, another car accident in January 1995 forced Race out of the wrestling business altogether. He required hip replacement surgery, which, along with injuries accumulated after years in the ring, prevented him from even being a manager. He would make a few independent appearances against Flair but his inability to work was just too great. Race would make one last return to WCW television in October 1999 as the ring announcer for the Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit tribute to Owen Hart match in his hometown of Kansas City. On March 1, 2019, Race's close friend Ric Flair announced that Race was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. On August 1, 2019, it was revealed by long-time friend Dustin Rhodes that Race had died from lung cancer. He was 76 years old.

Bio by: Glendora


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Still Above the Dirt
  • Added: 18 Jul 2019
  • Find A Grave Memorial 201249302
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Harley Leland Race (11 Apr 1943–1 Aug 2019), Find A Grave Memorial no. 201249302, citing Quitman Cemetery, Quitman, Nodaway County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .