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Don Leo Jonathan (1931-2018)

      
    

Real NameDon Leo Delaun Heaton
Birthdate4/29/1931 - 10/13/2018
6'6" 300 lbs. - Langley, BC

Athletic BackgroundBoxing, Martial Arts (US Navy), Football (High School)

Teacher(s) - Brother Jonathan

Professional Background - n/s

AliasesSonny Heaton

Peak Years`61 - `71

  
Place in HistoryFor those who saw him, few performers leave such a lasting impression as Don Leo Jonathan.  A man the size of Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall or Mike Awesome who could do nip ups, throw perfect dropkicks, take incredible bumps and work believable matches with almost anyone.  It is no wonder than he was one of preeminent touring stars of pro-wrestling for over thirty years.  Don Leo Jonathan was the son of a Brother Jonathan, a snake-wielding, verse-preaching star of the Depression era, so he had inherited a pro-wrestler’s wanderlust.  Don Leo had an aptitude for jumping and tumbling and after building up his body doing boxing and martial arts in the Navy, he was an incredible package.  From San Francisco to New York City, Jonathan was able to quickly climb the ladder to the top of the cards based on both his size and his athleticism.  Understandably, he worked programs with other big men like Killer Kowalski, Bill Miller and Sky Hi Lee, but he made an excellent larger foil to babyfaces like Antonio Rocca in New York, Whipper Watson in Toronto and Rikidozan in Japan.  “The Mormon Giant” became one of the real beneficiaries of the Golden Age of Wrestling as television exposure helped him build a mystique.  He became a regular challenger to the NWA World Championship and even held a version of the World title in Omaha, where he was an excellent draw.  In the early 1960s, Don Leo Jonathan settled in Vancouver and spent much of his remaining fifteen years working there and Portland.  He was an avid outdoorsman who could pick his shots and he did so very successfully as a special attraction to cards.  In Montreal, for example, he worked frequent opponent Andre the Giant (then “Jean Ferre”) in a memorable “Battle of the Giants” that drew over 15,000.  In the 1970s, Jonathan did shots all over the world from Australia and Japan to South Africa and Austria.  He still maintained much of his athletic style as he worked into the 1980s.  His interests in diving and underwater exploration became his next passion.  Cancer and other health problems have really slowed Don Leo Jonathan, but he remains one of the biggest stars of the TV era who is still alive and lucid.  Jonathan is one of the true legends of the sport, a man whose career spanned from traveling with father during the Depression to working alongside stars of the Rock-N-Wrestling period like Roddy Piper and Andre the Giant.  He was one of the featured stars of the Golden Age and one of the most successful touring attractions of the period that followed, which makes him an undeniable legend.

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