Freddie Blassie (February 8, 1918 - June 2, 2003) was an American professional wrestler born in St. Louis, Missouri and 1994 WWE Hall of Fame inductee who was a popular wrestling villain.
Fred Blassie was born in St. Louis, Missouri and raised in nearby Normandy, Missouri. He excelled at baseball, football, and boxing while in high school. After school he chose professional wrestling over boxing as a career, while working as a butcher for his day job; Blassie claimed to have made his pro wrestling debut in 1935 after training with Billy Hanson. He joined the United States Navy at the onset of World War II, and earned titles in boxing and sport wrestling while in service in the Pacific Theater. He also continued professional wrestling under the name Sailor Fred Blassie when in port.
His first match was against Don McIntyre in Birmingham, Alabama for the NWA Southern Heavyweight Title on his 36th birthday. As he became one of NWA's top wrestlers, Blassie bleached his hair and adopted his trademark rulebreaking style. In Japan, his penchant for drawing blood earned him the nickname "The Vampire" because he had filed down his teeth to sharp points so he could cause bloody massacres. He was also stabbed 23 different times, had his car set on fire, had acid poured on him, and became blind in the right eye when a fan threw a hard-boiled egg at his face. Every time the fans saw him, they would run away in terror. Based on his success, Blassie was brought back to Los Angeles by promoter Jules Strongbow.
Blassie had been wrestling many competitors like The Destroyer (Dick Beyer), Bearcat Wright, Mr. Moto, Mil Mascaras, Bobo Brazil, to name but a scant few. The "Blassie Cage" matches then flourished. The best remembered moment in his life is his legendary feud with John "The Golden Greek" Tolos, which dates back four decades, and set new levels for violence in the wrestling ring.
Blassie retired as a wrestler at the end of 1973 and focused on being a manager. Here he was equally successful at drawing heat, especially during his run as part of the World Wrestling Federation's Evil Trinity of managers with "The Captain" Lou Albano and The Grand Wizard of Wrestling.
With his recording of the song "Pencil Neck Geek" and the bizarre movie My Breakfast with Blassie (co-starring comedian Andy Kaufman), he maintained a devoted cult following, which was only heightened by his continued wrestling appearances throughout the 1980s in the WWF. Even after he retired as an active performer in 1986, Blassie was still one of the most popular wrestling personalities in the world.
He appears as a lyric in the R.E.M. song "Man on The Moon": Mister Fred Blassie in a breakfast mess, with "breakfast" referring to the title of his movie.
In the early 1990s, the wrestler starred in a bizarro documentary directed by Jeff Krulik, titled Mr. Blassie Goes To Washington. In it, Blassie is picked up at the Washington DC airport by a limo full of young women, escorted around the nation's capitol, gives his opinions and confronts tourists. When meeting someone, he would ask where they were from, and no matter their response, he would reply with, "Oh, that's God's country!"
Before his death, he released his autobiography, Listen, You Pencil Neck Geeks. Even as his life was ending, he was still involved in wrestling. His last appearance on WWE television was exactly three weeks before his death, when he came out to ringside in his wheelchair and participated in a storyline with The Dudley Boyz, climaxing his appearance by telling the Dudleys to "get the tables!"
He died on June 2, 2003 from heart and kidney trouble. He is survived by his wife Miyako. From "The Hollywood Fashion Plate" and "The King of Men" to "The Vampire" and just plain "Classy" Freddie Blassie, he will always be remembered by fans.