June 29, 2011
SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame: Frenchy Lamonte
|Frenchy Lamonte in the late '80s. -- Greg Oliver
REAL NAME: Roland Barriault
BORN: July 22, 1946 in Sudbury, ON
4'7", 110 pounds
AKA: Frenchy Lamonte, Rolly the Rocket, Little Hawk, Little Evil
Though it is not widely acknowledged, Canada has produced a number of
legendary short-statured combatants for the 'squared circle' over the
years. One of the pioneers of the midget ranks, Frenchy Lamonte,
certainly qualifies as one of the all-time greats of the sport.
As a child, Roland Barriault would attend matches with his mother when
the maulers would appear in his hometown of Sudbury. By age eight, he had
already decided that the wrestling game was in his future, telling his
mother "I'm gonna be a dirty one," he recalls with a chuckle.
Frenchy has appeared around the world over the past 36 years and is
still active today, most recently appearing for Winnipeg promoter, Tony Condello. He lists Sky Low Low and Fuzzy Cupid as his favorite
opponents and his favorite promoter is former San Francisco mat
impresario, Roy Shire, under whom he once earned $3,500 for a single
performance in the Cow Palace. Lamonte was also World Midget champion in 1974.
He was trained by Lord Littlebrook and made his debut in Havelock, Ontario in 1963.
Lamonte grows very serious as he admits that as a child, he did not
believe in "giants", and that he was legitimately frightened when on a
tour of France, he was greeted at the airport by Andre the Giant. "I
was as tall as his knees," he relates. The two went on to become close
friends after the initial shock, and fear, wore off.
Away from the ring, Frenchy has remained in the public eye having made a
handful of movie appearances including "Days of Heaven" with Richard
Gere and securing a role in last year's movie on the life of Jesse
Ventura. In addition to that, he has also been featured in the Guinness
Book of World Records as the "World's Strongest Midget" after being
discovered by Ben Weider in a Montreal gym.
"I squatted two full-size wrestlers (One of which was Johnny Rougeau),"
boasts the legendary grappler. "Ben Weider said he'd never seen
anything like that before."
In 1982, Lamonte began to play basketball with Phil Watson's Canadian
Half-Pints midget basketball team. While touring with the team, Frenchy
believes that he may have played ball at almost every aboriginal
community in Canada, where he has made many lasting friendships.
In the dressing room, Frenchy Lamonte can be found either at the centre
of a hoard of burly matmen, regaling all with tales of his incredible
career, or quietly sketching landscapes on styrofoam cups, which he
offers to friends and fans as a memento.
Currently, Lamonte resides in Val Caron, a suburb of Sudbury. His son is "Karate Kid" Chris Dube (Leon Demaranville).
This bio was written by central Canada's leading wrestling expert, Vern May of Canadian Wrestle-Media.