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Don Curtis (1927-2008)

Real NameDon Curtis (born “Don Beitelman”)
Lifespan -5/22/1927 - 3/6/2008
6'1” 190 lbs. - Buffalo, NY

Athletic BackgroundWrestling, Football (University of Buffalo)

Teacher(s) - n/a

Professional Background - n/a

Aliases - Don Beitelman

Peak Years`57-`64

Place in HistoryThe legend of Don Curtis realistically started before he even became a professional.  The old story goes that NWA World Champion Lou Thesz went to work out with the University of Buffalo amateur for a simple workout set up by local promoter Ed Don George.  Instead he entered a gymnasium full of fans and had a tough go with the then-Don Beitleman.  The showing so impressed George that he backed Beitleman in his amateur and professional pursuits.  That story aside, Beitleman did get into the sport near the Buffalo area before heading Down Under for a few years of seasoning.  As serious as the North American scene was at that time, Australia and New Zealand was even closer to amateur wrestling.  Needless to say, Don Curtis returned to the American scene with a reputation as a double-tough shooter.  Eddie Graham helped him get into New York with partner Mark Lewin and success followed.  Lewin, a young stud from Buffalo as well, and Curtis, a tough veteran, made a perfect babyface combination.  They battled Eddie and Dr. Jerry Graham and became amongst the greatest stars of the WWF in that era as the #2 babyface team under Argentina Rocca & Miguel Perez.  In 1962, Curtis moved to Jacksonville, Florida and would spend the rest of his career working for the Florida office.  He and Lewin worked there briefly before the youngster moved on and made his own legend.  While Curtis had a successful run in Florida tagging with the likes of Abe Jacobs, Joe Scarpa (Jay Strongbow) and Eddie Graham himself, he became better known for his jovial nature and dedication to wrestling.  Curtis was a noted jokester and was very popular amongst his peers, even though he was closely tied to the promoter and was a fearsome shooter.  He, like Graham, was willing to do anything to uphold the dignity of the sport whether it meant beating up a mark or working with amateur wrestlers.  Don Curtis became heavily involved with amateur wrestling as a trainer, referee and member of the US Olympic Wrestling committee.  Don Curtis may not have achieved the greatest fame or fortune in the sport, but few were more beloved or respected by their peers.