May 3, 2003
The good die too young
By PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun
In an era when wrestling was more about style and substance than overt sex, Miss Elizabeth was the queen of the squared circle.
In fact, at the height of her glory, she was known as The First Lady of Professional Wrestling, featured at one time on an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
That is why the sudden death on Miss Elizabeth, born Elizabeth Hulette 42 years ago in Louisville, Ky., is shocking. We are, after all, talking about a woman who died too young, where the circumstances surrounding her death are mysterious.
She had been living in Georgia with wrestler Larry Pfohl, a.k.a. Lex Luger, a onetime offensive lineman for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League in the 1970s. On Easter Sunday, police responded to a domestic dispute at Pfohl's home and charged him with battery and released him on a $2,500 bail. Pfohl was accused of punching Hulette in the face.
Early Thursday morning, Pfohl placed a call to emergency paramedics, who rushed Hulette to hospital with a condition described as gravely ill. She died shortly afterward.
Medical reports probing into the exact cause of death were inconclusive and may not be known for months. Rumours persist, though, that she may have overdosed.
Police ruled out foul play but later arrested Pfohl for possession of large quantities of anabolic steroids. Pfohl didn't have the greatest technical skills as a wrestler but had a sculpted body and flexed his muscles for show.
Sadly, the death of Elizabeth Hulette is not a contrived story line. It is all too real and represents the latest blight in the business of make believe. In recent years, a litany of star wrestlers in the '80s and early '90s have died in and out of the ring.
James Myers, who wrestled as George (The Animal) Steele and had some interesting story angles involving Miss Elizabeth, told SLAM! Wrestling: "It's sad to see a person that young die. It's such a waste. Maybe these (wrestling-related) deaths start opening eyes and change some lifestyles. Maybe it's not all in vain."
Even if you didn't follow wrestling, or even cared for its scripted plots, you probably heard of Miss Elizabeth. She was a pop culture figure during a time when wrestling took off under the direction of promoter Vince McMahon Jr. Miss Elizabeth didn't appear partially naked in the ring or fully nude in a magazine layout to sell herself or her business in the same way many of the so-called divas who followed her.
She was, in fact, a role model at a time when wrestling could truly say it had such paragons. She wore elegant gowns and stiletto heels, managing Randy (Macho Man) Savage. When he won the World Wrestling Federation heavyweight title in 1988 at WrestleMania IV, it was Elizabeth who was as much a part of the act as Savage.
Although Miss Elizabeth and Macho Man had been married since 1984, the WWF used their romance in a story line in 1992. Savage proposed to Elizabeth in one show and they later had a grand wedding at a pay-per-view event subtitled, "A Match Made In Heaven.'' Ironically, the real marriage was about to dissolve.
After leaving the WWF later that year, she surfaced with the rival World Championship Wrestling in 1996 and her character took on a different role.
Miss Elizabeth, egad, became a villain.
The WCW succumbed to falling ratings and mismanagement. She left the WCW and the business in 1999.
Whatever Miss Elizabeth may have been in her private life -- and you can be sure her stunning death will undoubtedly reveal some of that mystery -- she maintained a certain innocence as a ring persona.
She was the ultimate sweetheart, portraying innocence and virtue to its fullest.
Maybe it's true the good die young.
Even in the world of wrestling.