MICK MCMANUS 11TH January 1921 to 22ND May 2013 R.I.P.
MICK MCMANUS has died aged 92 years young, and the passing of this enigma from the golden years of wrestling, ends an era as the last great icon and bastion of those halycon days. Much as been written of Mick's wrestling achievements over the last week, which has seen a media frenzy usually reserved for pop stars such as Elvis Presley, with reports featured in every newspaper in the U.K. including the influential Financial Times, reports ranging from a few lines to double page spreads in tabloids like the Daily Mirror. Every TV station in the Country has shown repeats of programmes that Mick appeared in and Sky Sports News had his sad passing flashing across the ticker tapes. Such was his fame that the United States has also widely commented on the death with prominent coverage given by the WWE and TNA. HULK HOGAN gave a glowing tribute to the man he admired, as did many other ex pat British wrestlers now resident in the States and hugely successful thanks to Mick's influence.
We at the Reunion, have been asked to compose and read an eulogy speech which former World Champion and Reunion Host/Organiser : WAYNE BRIDGES will read during the internment ceremony, on behalf of the whole wrestling fraternity, and which will be reprinted here after the service, highlighting details of Micks life from birth to his eventual demise.
The service is booked for June 11th at Woking Crematorium, Hermitage Road, St. Johns, Woking, Surrey. GT21 8TJ at 12.30 p.m and it is anticipated that many former wrestling stars and friends will be there to pay their respects to the greatest wrestling Legend that this Country has ever had ,or will ever see again.
TONY ST CLAIR has booked a flight from Germany,to pay respect on behalf of himself and his Brother ROY ST CLAIR who is in Spain and unable to attend. MARK ROLLERBALL ROCCO is trying to get transport from Tenerife, and more locally COLIN JOYNSON, MARTY JONES, JOHNNY SAINT, BOBBY RYAN, EDDIE (Nipper) RILEY, BANGER WALSH, RINGO RIGBY, STEVE VEIDOR, PETE ROBERTS, BOBBY BARNES, JOHNNY KIDD, LEE BRONSON, KARL HEINZ, LLOYD RYAN, TOMMY STEWART, BRIAN DIXON,ROMANY RILEY, JON RITCHIE, JOHN HALL,BOBBY STAFFORD, MEL STUART, JOHNNY RILEY, BILLY LA RUE, KEVIN RICHMOND, STEWART KNIGHT, JOHNNY KINCAID, MAL SANDERS, STEVE GREY, all hope to attend, plus many more too numerous to mention.
The concern is for the small size of the venue and the fear that mourners will be subject to a media circus, an many reporters and photographers are likely.
During his long time on this earth, Mick McManus enjoyed a charmed and golden life as the star of not only wrestling, but stage, screen and TV, naming celebrities from all walks of life as his friends. Some of these such as American tap dancing Legend : STEVE CLARK who has performed with FRANK SINATRA and SAMMY DAVIS JNR. and shared time with Mick at Brinsworth House, also wants to be there as does PETER ANDRE'S brother and singing Cyprus's biggest star CHRIS ANDRE, along with ANNIE RILEY who is one half of the singing duo : SWINGTIME SWEETHEARTS that have recorded with DAME VERA LYNN and is wife of wrestler JOHNNY RILEY. There will be a welcome contingent from Brinsworth House, the home for retired celebrities and thespians, where he stayed throughout Barbara's cancer treatment and following her untimely death in January.These magnificent staff members are devoted to their patients, giving 24 hour care and nursing facilities.LORD RICHARD ATTENBOROUGH who is battling ill health himself and was looking after his Actress wife SHEILA SIMS since she contracted dementia, has recently sold his mansion to move into Brinsworth , but although he and Mick had been friends since their days together in the LORD TAVERNERS and Grand order of WATER RATS , were unable to get together.Mick's charity work was legendary and in Company of Promoter BRIAN DIXON, who is himself a member of the Variety Club of Great Britain, raised thousands of pounds for various causes with golf tournaments etc..
Many folks see Mick has simply the wrestling hard man,and great athlete, but as the photos depict, this complex and multi- talented man was also renowned for his debonair dress sense, speaking ability, charming manners and warm humour plus quiet charisma, which endeared him to everyone who actually knew the man and not the persona.
He loved wrestling as a passion during his whole existence loving nothing more than to chat with and advise young aspiring grapplers, often turning up at shows throughout the Home Counties where he always received an ovation. No other man has achieved this modicum of fame across the generations in the same way the Mick did and his passing has left everyone both stunned and saddened. Yet, ironically, since his death, he has recreated an interest in British wrestling, unprecedented for the last 30 years which can only help the Business and for which we must all be grateful.
During this time of mourning, our thoughts must be with Son Tony and his Family at losing the two people he loved the most in the space of five months.
We leave you with a pictorial potted history of the life and times of this super star : MICK MCMANUS
( Circa 1945)
( Circa 1948)( 1962 Clash of the titans. Mick versus Jackie TV Pallo)
( Tiptoe through the Tulips- Robby Baron, Adrian Street, Bruno Elrington, Mick McManus,Johnny Kwango, Mike Marino)
( Mick the winner)( Training in the gym with Steve Logan)
( Mick McManus the musician- any one for chamber music ? -not quite Julian Lloyd Webber !)
( At work as Director of Dale- Martins)
(Make em laugh ! Mick demonstrates speaking skills)(Circa 1971)( Mick lifts barbell with help from the Ladies, overlooked by Tibor Szakacs and John Lees)
( Mick attacks Tommy Cooper, watched by Eddie Capelli)
( Raquel Welch gets to grips with Mick McManus)
( Circa 1977)
( Kendo Nagasaki gets the boot from Mick McManus) ( Crimewatch Shaw Taylor says - Will you come quietly McManus ?)
( U.S. ballet dancing wrestling Legend: Rikki Starr headlocks Mick McManus)
( 80's TV star )( Over he goes)( Sun Newspaper columnist)
( ring villain)( I told you Pete Murray- I don't like your music choices! )( Mick throws an opponent on TV while Max Ward looks on)
( Another day- Another bout)( Wrestling royalty. Mick McManus, Steve Logan,Jackie TV Pallo,Les Kellett, Zoltan Boscik, Clayton Thompson
meet the HRH The Duke of Edinburgh)( 1998. Mick with Frankie Rimer Jnr -left and school pal)
( With Pat Roach at the Reunion 2002) (Frank Rimer and Mick McManus at a wrestling show )
( 2002 Mick with Doug Williams and wrestlers at show)
( Mick and fellow Legend: Bob Kirkwood)(2005- Dropkixx Wrestling Academy - Front row: 'Diamond' Jim Brodie,Jon Ritchie,John Hall, Mick McManus, Frank Rimer
In ring. Jimmy Starr,Yorghos Christopolous,Dan bateman,Wade Barratt, Stuart Knight,Nick Aldis ( Magnus),
Tank Sherman,Rocker Richards, Mad Dog L'estrange, Danny Beckwith, Lazer Lagden).
( 2008. Mick McManus and Joe D'Orazio receive life achievement awards at Legends Showdown.
L-R Danny boy Collins,Johnny Saint,Joe D'Orazio, Keith Myatt, Frank Rimer, Mick McManus, Johnny Kincaid, Johnny Kidd.)
( 2009 Mick greets members at Reunion with Frank Rimer)
( 2010. Mick aged 90 addresses audience for the last time, with old friend Joe D'Orazio aged 89 at the Reunion)
Yesterday, the 11th June , we attended Mick's internment ceremony at the beautiful Woking Crematorium, where ironically in 1884, the Marquis of Queensbury was also interned. The dreadful overcast and rainy day couldn't stop over 150 mourners, who packed the Chapel to pay their last respects, including many former Legendary wrestlers and Officials, who had travelled from all over the British Isles. TONY ST CLAIR even flying from his home in Germany just for the service, returning to Heathrow later the same day.
Mick who was laid to rest in a wicker coffin, was carried in to the World of Sport 'March of the Gladiators' music, and the non-religious ceremony commenced with his old friend and former driver Chris opening the tributes and speaking about their mutual love of rowing.
This was followed by Mick's favourite song : Danny Boy, sung by Judy Garland.
I was asked to give apologies on behalf of absent friends: JIMMY BREAKS, ALAN MIQUET, KEITH HAWARD, EDDIE HAMILL, RAY FURY, JON CORTEZ, TOMMY STEWART, JOE CORNELIUS, TONY WHITE, oldest living pal and Reunion president, 91 year old : JOE D'ORAZIO and then finally read a message printed below, from former Heavy Middleweight Champion of the World : MARK ROLLERBALL ROCCO who was prevented from attending following a recent medical problem.
As I am unable to attend today, I have asked that this short tribute to Mick McManus be read on my behalf and all our wrestling Family that includes Wrestlers, Officials, Ring crews and Supporters, associated with our wonderful Business.
Mick was our inspiration, and the man that took wrestling to another level ! The man that lead the way to ‘ The Golden Years’ !!
Wrestling was in everybody’s life . At 4pm on Saturday, Wrestling took over the television and had the highest viewing audiences ever achieved on British television, and Mick was the top of the bill star who boosted these TV ratings off the scale.
This success subsequently spread to every Hall and Venue in the UK.
Monday morning conversations all over the Country, were always about Saturdays TV wrestling show
Mick alone had the vision!!! Even in his retirement, his advice was Priceless, and put many wrestlers on the right track to success.
Mick McManus was Wrestling.
His whole life was dedicated to the sport,
He will always be remembered and sadly missed by everybody who had the privilege of meeting or knowing him
His epitaph should read.
HE HAS NOW GONE, BUT HAS NEVER BEEN COUNTED OUT !!!
Mark ‘Rollerball’ Rocco.
Finally, I introduced the former Heavyweight Champion of the World and Reunion Head: WAYNE BRIDGES , who read the main speech on behalf of the whole wrestling fraternity , celebrating Mick's life and which was received with warm applause.
Eulogy to Mick McManus- written by Frank Rimer and read by Wayne Bridges.
Ladies and gentlemen,
My wrestling name is Wayne Bridges , but Bill to my friends , and I am truly honoured and humbled to pay tribute here today, to the passing of the greatest name that our Business ever had.
He had a quick wit and typical London humour that wasn’t always obvious, but one poignant funny yarn that endures is from an FWA show some years ago, when Mick inadvertently introduced the wrestler FLASH BARKER as FLASH GORDON then realizing his mistake said ‘Oh well, I expect he will want to fly around tonight’ !!
On another occasion, he was being interviewed by a young National reporter at the DROPKIXX WRESTLING ACADEMY and when asked what it felt like to be retired and forgotten, the then 85 year old , was at that moment besieged by elderly Ladies at a bowls club next door, all clamoring for his autograph, and his eventual reply was ‘Nothing changes pal. If You’ve got it, you got it !’
At a Legends Show in 2008, he was presented with a life achievement award in front of 800 people and in his response said with tongue in cheek’ Thank you Ladies and Gentleman., but it is no more than I deserve !’
During the warm up at this show , FRANK RIMER asked him in the dressing room ‘How will you climb into the ring at 88 years old when I introduce you? To which he replied ‘Same bloody way I always did - Through the middle rope!’ And he did !!
MICK MCMANUS loved life, loved wrestling, and beyond everything loved his Son :TONY and was devoted to his beautiful wife BARBARA.
He achieved everything in life that anyone could possibly desire, knew Presidents, Kings, Queens and the world’s most famous rock stars, but in the end, just wanted to be with the Lady that he had loved so much for 60 years of his life, and so he died of a broken heart.
His passing is the end of an era. The last great icon of a wrestling dynasty that lasted for over 40 years. His last great bout has been fought . He has now gone to the great ‘dressing room in the sky’ . His work on earth is done, but we should not be sad at his passing, as his legacy will live on for decades to come and he will be happy now, as he can rest in peace forever, safe in the arms of the woman he worshipped .
The ceremony closed with former World Champion MARTY JONES tugging at the heartstrings with the tolling of a bell from the gallery for the final traditional 10 bell count and minutes silence, followed by the lovely and haunting piece of music by the late EVA CASSIDY called Somewhere over the rainbow, whereby the mourners then gathered outside to be met by a barrage of reporters and photographers who were eagerly awaiting photos and interviews.
( Basil 'Romany Riley and Tony 'Banger' Walsh after service)
( Mourners including Mel Stuart, Stewart Knight, Johnny Kincaid,Chris and Basil Riley,Jean O Sullivan,)
Wrestlers were ushered into a group for a collective photo of remembrance and JOHNNY SAINT, STEVE GREY, MAL SANDERS, and JOHNNY KIDD gave their thoughts on Mick , having all worked with him many times.
( Johnny Saint, Mal Sanders and Steve Grey)
(Basil 'Romany' Riley, Johnny Kincaid, Ringo Rigby, Chris Riley seated)
( Marty Jones and Basil 'Romany' Riley)
Eventually, many of the Legends then travelled the short distance to the 'IL RUSTICO ' Italian Restaurant in Chobham, for a top class meal, as guests of Tony McManus and his Family who was ironically celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary. Flowers were presented to the couple by HELEN JOYNSON
( 'Judo' Pete Roberts,Mal 'Superstar' Sanders, Frank Rimer and Steve Grey)
(Wayne Bridges, Steve Veidor, Johnny Saint, Colin Joynson,Bobby Ryan,Pete Roberts,Mal Sanders,
Steve Grey, Marty Jones, Tony St. Clair, Eddie Nipper Riley.)
( Bob Anthony)
( Colin Joynson and Bobby Ryan)
( Frank Rimer and Johnny Saint)
( Tony McManus thanks everyone)
( Eddie 'Nipper' Riley, Tony St. Clair, Marty Jones and friends)
( Johnny Saint and Helen Joynson)
( Steve Veidor, Bob Anthony's wife and Tony St. Clair)
( Johnny Saint, Colin Joynson,Bobby Ryan, Pete Roberts, Mal Sanders, Steve Grey)
( Frank Rimer and Johnny Saint)( Marty Jones and Tony St. Clair)( Friend Chris with the McManus Family- Son Tony and Daughter in Law middle left and Grandson
Bradley far end.) ( Pete Roberts, Mal Sanders, Frank Rimer and Steve Grey)
( Wayne Bridges, Steve Veidor, Tony St. Clair, Bob Anthony)
Attendees included: 'Bad boy' BOBBY BARNES, JOHN HALL, CHRIS BUCKWELL ( REUNION MUSICIAN) , VINCE RANDELL, BASIL 'ROMANY' RILEY, CHRIS RILEY, MARTY JONES, EDDIE ( Nipper) RILEY, COLIN JOYNSON, HELEN JOYNSON ( COLIN'S WIFE), JOHNNY SAINT, MAL ( Superstar) SANDERS, MARTIN BOSKETT ( Second )STEVE GREY, IAN (Bully boy) MUIR LEE BRONSON, JACK BURNS ( Toastmaster/M.C.), MEL ( Pretty boy) STUART, BILLY LA RUE, SANJAY BAGGA (LDN Promoter), 'CYANIDE' SID COOPER, JACKIE 'GLITTERBOY' EVANS, TONY (BANGER) WALSH , FRANK RIMER, ALAN TRAVIS, JACKIE TURPIN, TONY ST CLAIR, STEVE VEIDOR, KEVIN(Mad dog) RICHMOND, JOHNNY KINCAID, DEL WILLIAMS, RINGO RIGBY, TONY SCARLO, BOBBY RYAN, STEWART KNIGHT, WAYNE BRIDGES, BOBBY STAFFORD ( REFEREE), CHARLIE CORNISH ( SECOND), KARL HEINZ, JOHNNY KIDD, JO HUCKLE (Reunion Secretary), BOB KIRKWOOD, BOB ANTHONY, KEVIN DEWHURST. Should we have missed any, please let us know.
Finally we think that it is only appropriate to leave the final words to the supporters who have
taken the trouble to load these video tributes to the one the only
MICK MCMANUS R.I.P.