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Mildred Burke
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Wrestler
    (August 5, 1915-February 18, 1989)
    Born in Coffeyville, Kansas
    Birth name was Mildred Bliss
    World Women's Wrestling Association heavyweight champion (1937-56)
    Fought over 5,000 matches against women and 200 against men
    Signature move was the 'aligator clutch'
    Inducted into the Wrestling Observers Hall of Fame (1996) and Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame (2002)
    She lost her teeth after an opponent stomped on her mouth.
    She had an affair with her stepson.
    She was blackballed from National Wrestling Alliance events after divorcing manager Billy Wolfe.
    In a two out of three falls encounter with Wolfe's daughter-in-law June Byers, she lost the first fall (August 20, 1954).
    The second fall was stopped by officials, so she continued to consider herself the champion, but the NWA and much of the press recognized Byers as the title holder.
    When she first approached Billy Wolfe about being trained as a wrestler, he instructed a male wrestler to body slam her so she would stop bothering him. However, she returned the favor by slamming and pinning the man, prompting Wolfe to take her on.
    She was named the #6 female athlete in the world by the Associated Press (1947).
    She returned to the ring only four months after breaking five vertebrae in a car crash (1951).
    The LAPD displayed her poster in their offices to shame policemen into staying in shape.
    She was described as combining 'the physique of an athlete with the sex appeal of a bathing beauty and the glamour of a movie star.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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