Abe Coleman - Biography
Abe Coleman, born Abbe Kelmer, (September 20, 1905 – March 28, 2007) was a Polish-American professional wrestler who was, at the time of his death, believed to be the oldest member of his profession in the world. His wife, June Miller, who he married in 1939, died in 1987. Coleman says he landed in Miller's lap after being thrown from the ring in Madison Square Garden.
Coleman was born in Żychlin, Poland, and moved to the United States in 1923, by way of Winnipeg, Canada. Coleman had 15 older brothers and sisters, some of whom perished in the Holocaust. His father sold coal in Poland.
Coleman's first match took place in 1928 in Brooklyn at Ridgewood Grove, when local promoter Rudy Miller offered Coleman $25 to wrestle after seeing him work out in a Brooklyn gym.
Coleman's notability comes from claims that he invented the dropkick. He claimed the move was inspired by kangaroos he saw on a tour of Australia in 1930.
Coleman's nicknames included Hebrew Hercules and Jewish Tarzan. A Jewish man, he wrestled at a time when there were few Jewish athletes, and he endured fair amounts of anti-semitism. But was greatly praised within his own community, The Jewish Daily Bulletin hailed him in 1934 as a "past master of the art of grunts, groans and grimaces".
Although never a Champion, but rather a middlecard standby, he still wrestled in over 2,000 matches. One of the most notable took place in the 1930s against Jim Londos, this match was said to be in front of 60,000 spectators in a Mexico City bullring. In another match, he raised Man Mountain Dean (all 210 kilograms of him) over his head and 'slammed' him, in turn breaking through the mat and onto the auditorium floor.
Coleman retired from wrestling in 1958, after which he served as a wrestling judge, and inspected license plates for the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Outside of wrestling, Coleman's interests included poker and horse racing.
Still feisty in his old age, Coleman is said to have responded to his nephews call to wrestle him on his 100th birthday with, "Get my tights and Jock-strap". Coleman told the story of how he fought off two muggers while he was in his 80's to anyone who would listen.
Coleman died on March 28, 2007 in a nursing home in Queens, New York of kidney failure.
- Finishing moves
- Dropkick – innovated
- Signature moves
- Airplane spin
- Leaping tackle
- Mule kick
Championships and accomplishments
- Cauliflower Alley Club
- Other honoree (1995)
- Small bio from friendsofmicronesia.com
- Archived Gordon Solie newsletter featuring article on Abe Coleman's 90th birthday
- Queens Chronicle article on Abe Coleman's 99th birthday
- Queens Chronicle article on Abe Coleman's 100th birthday
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