Gorgeous George (Raymond Wagner), who was the first television-created superstar in the late 1940s, was announced today as being added to the WWE Hall of Fame. Dick "The Destroyer" Beyer, who wrestled George in a hair vs. mask match shortly before George's death, is believed to be the person who will handle the inductions. Wagner's wife is still alive.
The decision is largely because the company is going to produce a movie based on his life, which will be filmed in early 2011. Interest in the movie likely stems from John Capaouya's book on his life that came out in 2008.
The movie "The One and Only" starring Henry Winkler was originally going to be a bio of Gorgeous George, but negotiations over rights fell through. The movie itself was loosely based on George, who bleached his hair and wore fancy robes in the ring, and while not the first, was the first to do it on national television.
George in his prime was as much a mainstream name as any wrestler in the U.S. Celebrities were regularly at ringside at his matches at the Olympic Auditorium which did weekly sellouts. But his career as a headliner was short-lived, due to alcoholism taking its toll. For a short period of time, he was the highest paid non-boxer athlete in the U.S. but died penniless in 1963 at the age of 47.
With George, Stu Hart and Bob Uecker scheduled to be announced over the next two weeks, the entire Hall of Fame close will consist of those three and previously announced Ted DiBiase, Wendi Richter, Mad Dog Vachon and Antonio Inoki.