New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Category Archives: Wrestling

Frank Gotch


Frank Gotch (Wrestling.  Born, near Humboldt, IA, Apr. 27, 1876; died, Humboldt, IA, Dec. 16, 1917.)  When wrestling was a more-or-less legitimate sport, Frank A. Gotch was the biggest name in it.  Gotch won the world championship twice (1904-06, 1907-13), first winning the title from Tom Jenkins Jan. 27, 1904.  He appeared in the East infrequently but was a legend in his sport, winning 154 of 160 professional matches.  Gotch’s most famous match was a two-hour victory over George Hackenschmidt in 1908 at Chicago’s Dexter Park Pavilion.  He died of uremic poisoning.

Ed (Strangler) Lewis


Ed (Strangler) Lewis (Pro wrestling. Born, Nekoosa, WI, Aug. 10, 1890; died, Muskogee, OK, Aug. 7, 1966.) When wrestling transitioned from sport to show business, Strangler Lewis (born Robert H. Frederick) was the biggest name in the business. In 1920, he beat Joe Steicher at the 71st Regiment Armory to claim the world heavyweight title. Gus Sonnenberg succeeded him as champion in 1932, but Lewis didn’t retire until 1947, when he wrestled his last match in Honolulu, Hawaii. Lewis estimated that he had wrestled some 6,200 matches. He gave his number of losses variously from 22 to 33.

Nat Pendleton


Nat Pendleton (College wrestling.  Born, Davenport, IA, Aug. 9, 1895; died, LaJolla, CA, Oct. 11, 1967.)  A college wrestling champion and Olympic medalist, Nathaniel Greene Pendleton was among the first athletes to become a successful motion picture star.  Pendleton, wrestling for Columbia, won the E.I.W.A. championship at 175 pounds in 1914 and 1915.  He was the national A.A.U. champion in 1916 and won a silver medal at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium.  In 1924, Pendleton began a career in silent films that was to extend long into the “talkies” era.  He ultimately appeared in some 100 films, becoming much in demand for the accent he acquired on the Brooklyn streets, where he was raised, as well as his sturdy physique.  Pendleton played opposite the Marx Brothers (in Horse Feathers), Myrna Loy and William Powell (in The Thin Man), Jean Harlow, Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullivan, Walter Pidgeon, and Abbott and Costello, among others.  His films included The Great Ziegfeld, Lady for a Day, Manhattan Melodrama, and Northwest Passage (with Spencer Tracy and Robert Young).

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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About Bill Shannon

A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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