Wrestling Legend Fabulous Moolah Has Passed Away
November 3, 2007 12:20pm CST
World Wrestling Entertainment announced this morning that long-time WWF Women's champion The Fabulous Moolah (Lillian Ellison) has passed away. The WWE website did not list a cause of death. By my records, she was 84 years old. A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Moolah was Women's Champion nine times, including the period before it was a WWE Title and "forgotten" switches not acknowledged in official WWE history books. She may be best remembered for having the longest running championship reign (publicized as 28 years, although in truth, there were back-and-forth switches during that reign) of any champion ever in professional wrestling history and maintained a close relationship with the McMahon family through the years. Originally breaking in as "Slave Girl Moolah" in the 1950s, she was christened the Fabulous Moolah after winning the championship in a Battle Royal. Although she lost the title several times, she always regained it and history will remember her as having one long, uninterrupted reign. Moolah was at the forefront of the WWF's national expansion during the "Rock N' Wrestling" era, managing Leilani Kai against Cyndi Lauper's charge, Wendi Richter. Moolah was a regular top character for the company during that time period, translating her in-ring career to action figures, an animated appearance on the WWF cartoon series, a cameo in a Cyndi Lauper music video and more. When WWF had contractual issues with Richter, they sent Moolah into the ring to win the title back as the masked "Spider Lady", perfecting a screwjob years before Montreal became part of the wrestling jargon. When Moolah finally dropped the WWF Women's title to Sherri Martel towards the end of 1987, it marked the end of a true era, although Moolah maintained a presence with the company until her passing. In October 1999, Moolah returned to the ring at the age of 76 to capture one last championship win from Ivory at the No Mercy '99 PPV, for a short eight day title run. Moolah was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995 and returned alongside Mae Young to make a number of comedic cameos during the Attitude era. Those cameos continued through this year's Summerslam, where Moolah made her final appearance during a backstage vignette with Vince McMahon, William Regal and Mae Young. Moolah's career was recognized in the 2004 documentary "Lipstick and Dynamite", which looked at the pioneering days of women's professional wrestling, featuring Moolah, Mae Young and Penny Banner, among others. Although Moolah and Young ended up as two of the major focuses of the film, director Ruth Leitman had to chase them down for many months via phone calls and visits before they would agree to take part in the documentary. Leitman's attempts to bring them on board ended up becoming an extra on film's DVD release. Moolah also released an autobiography via WWE in 2004 and was a regular at a number of wrestling conventions in recent years. Moolah had recently undergone an eye transplant and was scheduled to have her shoulder replaced shortly. Moolah had suffered the passing of her brother, the last of 12 siblings (she was the youngest of 13), this past August, which forced her to pull out of several scheduled appearances. Moolah was living in Columbia, SC at the time of her passing. --------------------------------------------------------------------- It's also on WWE.com and this is more in-depth on Pro Wrestling Insider. Honestly, I never saw her as a performer in her early days. I can say she lived a good life. She was 84 at the time of death. Anybody have any thoughts on this and what do you remember her most? For me, when she was appearing with Mae Young doing comedy skits. I had heard about her being a great Woman's Champion.
4 people like this
• United States
3 Nov 07
This is very sad news as she was really funny to watch when she made appearances on the show at her current age. She certainly lived a good life and had a wonderful career and am sure her family and friends and fans will miss her greatly. The WWE will miss her as well.
• United States
3 Nov 07
I used to love to watch her. I never saw her wrestle in her younger years, but in the 80's when i really loved wrestling, she would come on and do some shows and I thought she was so cool. I have to say she probably is one of the few wrestlers that ever made it to the ripe old age of 84, so many of them die young. My thoughts are with her family at this sad time
• United States
3 Nov 07
I have seen her wrestle and she was very good! She is a very well known women's champion for anyone who has followed wrestling and she will be missed by collegues, friends and family. She did help get women started into wrestling and they didn't wear the skimpy clothes that the girls do today. Her, Mae and other early women wrestlers are the true divas!!