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The Sheik

The Sheik
When The Sheik died January 18, 2003 the world lost an original villain, one of the scariest, wildest bad guys in history.

Edward (The Sheik) Farhat pioneered the "hardcore" school that dominates the field today, and generations of fans loved to hate him.

Farhat died in Williamston near Lansing, Michigan, at age 76 of heart failure, his son, Edward Farhat Jr., told the media.

The story behind The Sheik was that he was from a wealthy, aristocratic Middle Eastern family. His costume included a kaffiyeh Arabic head covering and his trademark dirty fighting style included carrying a jagged piece of wood with which to "secretly" cut his rivals.

 Farhat was born in Lansing, Mich., one of 10 children of Lebanese immigrants.

 After concealing his age of 17 to join the Army during the Second World War, Farhat was recruited by pro wrestling promoter Burt Ruby in Detroit in 1950.

 "There was a wrestling school, and he went two or three times a week," his son said. "He was just a natural."

 In the 1960s and '70s, he was a star of the Big Time Wrestling circuit. Farhat also became an owner of Big Time Wrestling, the Michigan franchise of the National Wrestling Alliance.

 "He was as much of a star as Hulk Hogan or any of the guys today," said Edward Farhat Jr.

 The character of The Sheik was deeply embedded in his personality, on or off the mat, his son said.

 "His grandkids called him Grandpa Sheik," he said. "There will never, ever, be another one like him."

 Farhat is survived by wife Joyce, sister Eva Brunk, brother Moses Farhat, sons Edward and Thomas, and four grandchildren.

- with files from SLAM! Wrestling wire services

THE SHEIK STORIES
  • Nov. 27, 2010: Koloff, Road Warriors, Sheik, Bruiser, Lawler headline PWHF Class of 2011
  • June 8, 2010: New Sheik DVD too short, needs much more
  • March 3, 2010: New Sheik DVD to show Detroit impact, legacy
  • April 7, 2002: The Sheik kept Van Dam sharp