Sputnik Monroe was a headliner in many territories, and was best known in Memphis, Tennessee, where he and Billy Wicks set an attendance record that lasted until the Monday Night Wars boom period.
11 Facts About Sputnik Monroe
Sputnik Monroe's father was killed in an airplane crash one month before his birth.
Sputnik Monroe had a brother, Gary "Jet" Monroe, who was his manager during certain parts of his career.
Sputnik Monroe changed his name to "Rocky Monroe" in 1949, and adopted the nickname "Sputnik" in 1957 in reference to the Russian satellite Sputnik 1.
In 1957, while driving to a wrestling show in Alabama, Sputnik Monroe became tired and invited a black hitchhiker he met at a gas station to take the wheel.
The witty, flamboyant Sputnik Monroe began dressing up in a purple gown and carrying a diamond tipped cane and drinking in traditionally black bars in the black area of Memphis, where he would openly socialize with black patrons and hand out tickets to his wrestling shows.
Sputnik Monroe, having become the biggest wrestling draw in the territory, soon refused to perform unless patrons, regardless of their race, were allowed to sit in any seat at the Ellis Auditorium.
Sputnik Monroe retired from wrestling in 1975 but returned to wrestle one last match in 1988.
Sputnik Monroe had three children, the youngest of them, Quentin Bell was a pro wrestler.
Sputnik Monroe's son died on September 10,2022 at 62.
Sputnik Monroe died in his sleep on November 3,2006, in Florida.