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'Mouth of the South' roars into Winnipeg
By ROSS ROMANIUK - Winnipeg Sun


Jimmy Hart hams it up during a stop in Winnipeg on Thursday, May 26, 2011. (QMI Agency/Brian Donogh)

WINNIPEG -- The Mouth of the South has roared into Winnipeg, along with his "magic" megaphone. And he's pumped about raising the noise and excitement at MTS Centre on Friday night.

But Jimmy Hart, one of professional wrestling's most recognized faces for decades, will host WWE's RAW World Tour event while coming to terms with last week's death of friend and colleague Randy "Macho Man" Savage, who died at age 58 after suffering an apparent heart attack and colliding with a tree while driving in Florida.

"I was just in shock," Hart, one of rassling's most brash and celebrated managers, told the Winnipeg Sun of the wrestler he had worked with long ago. "Randy was great, on time, dependable. He really worked on his matches, and worked on his outfits."

At age 67, Hart -- known throughout pro wrestling as the Mouth of the South -- still gets a kick out of World Wrestling Entertainment, even though the grappling circuit can be a grind.

The Tampa, Fla., resident had been a singer with 1960s pop band The Gentrys before moving into wrestling and eventually steering the careers of Hulk Hogan, King Kong Bundy, The Honky Tonk Man and several other stars.

Despite pro wrestling's theatrical reputation, the member of the WWE and WCW halls of fame says his megaphone-shouting persona is real.

"I love being colourful," Hart said, recalling a lesson learned decades ago while working under pop music promoter Dick Clark and touring with the likes of the Beach Boys and Sonny and Cher.

"Dick Clark said something to all of us: 'Remember, when you're in front of all those people, you had better give them their money's worth. Be colourful, stand out, be different. Because if you dress like the audience, one day you're going to wind up sitting there.' I've never forgotten that."

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