Curtis Piehau Iaukea, III, better known as TV wrestler King Curtis died on the weekend, aged 73.
Curtis’ appeared in World Championship Wrestling with Jack Little at Channel Nine during the 1960s. His speciality was yelling down the barrel of the camera, telling opponents what he was going to do to them and captivating everyone from 9 to 90.
Wikipedia notes his first sojourns to Australia were in the 1964–1965 season, where he was a villain, teamed with Skull Murphy. The King Curtis tag was the one that stuck as he feuded against Mark Lewin. After becoming a fan favorite in time for the seventies, King Curtis feuded against Tiger Singh and various Japanese wrestlers.
He was best known at the leader (with Mark Lewin) of ‘The People’s Army’ against Big Bad John and his assorted ‘heels’.
Formerly a football star at the University of California, Iaukea headlined all over the world during his long career, known in particular for his bloody matches and feuds with Mark Lewin in a number of circuits.
After retiring in the mid-1980s, he turned to managing before he re-appeared briefly in the WWF as a manager and mouthpiece for wrestlers Kamala and Sika. He also appeared briefly as ‘The Master’ of The Dungeon of Doom stable in the mid-90s.
Under the name “Iau Kea” he also appeared in the film The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze with Moe Howard declaring “That’s not a man! That’s a committee!”.
His very last appearance was in a documentary made for and aired on Nine made by former wrestler Ron Miller called Ruff, Tuff and Real.