In the glorious era of the Roaring ’20s, Ed “Strangler” Lewis stood side by side with such immortals as Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey and Red Grange when it came to athletic accomplishments.
Born Robert H. Friedrich on June 2, 1890 , in Sheboygan Falls , Wisconsin , he spent his childhood and teen years in Nekoosa , Wisconsin . Friedrich was an outstanding all-around athlete and played several sports at the University of Kentucky . But he gravitated toward wrestling and changed his name to Ed Lewis so his disapproving parents wouldn’t discover he was a wrestler. The name “Strangler” was added due to his fearsome headlock he developed.
Ed Lewis wrestled in over 6,000 matches during his 44-year career and only lost 32 of them. He held the world heavyweight crown five times and ruled the sport for nearly two decades. He appeared in several movies and was a world class bridge player.
After retiring from competition, he served as the manager and trainer for several of the legendary stars who followed him, including Lou Thesz and Dan Hodge. Late in his life he lectured to various groups on Christian values. He suffered from blindness for years and died on August 6, 1966 , at the age of 76 in Muskogee , Oklahoma .