Downers Grove native and former professional wrestler Randy “Macho Man” Savage died today in a car accident in Florida; he endeared himself to children of the era, including me, with his very-’80s outfits and his Slim Jim commercials. But he wasn’t the first professional wrestler in his family. His dad, Angelo Poffo, a Chicago-reared child of Italian immigrants, was the first in what became the family business (Savage’s brother, Lanny Poffo, aka “Leaping Lanny Poffo, aka The Genius, was also a pro wrestler).
Poffo was one of the early bad guys in wrestling—"he wouldn’t even get cheers from fellow Italians in the crowd,” SLAM! Wrestling’s Greg Oliver, wrote—but in real life was a Navy veteran, sit-up record-holder and devout Catholic who was so famous for his thriftiness that he sometimes wrestled as The Miser. He also featured the number 6,033 on his outfit, for the number of consecutive sit-ups he did as a 20-year-old: 6,000 plus one for every year of Jesus’s life.
Here’s Poffo in action: