Don Leo Jonathan

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Don Leo Jonathan
Born(1931-04-29) April 29, 1931 (age 83)
Hurricane, Utah
ResidesLangley, British Columbia
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Don Leo Jonathan
The Mormon Giant
Sonny Jonathan[1]
Billed height6 ft 6 in[2]
Billed weight285–340 lb[2]
Billed fromSalt Lake City, Utah
Trained byBrother Jonathan
Debut1949
Retired1980
 
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Don Leo Jonathan
Born(1931-04-29) April 29, 1931 (age 83)
Hurricane, Utah
ResidesLangley, British Columbia
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Don Leo Jonathan
The Mormon Giant
Sonny Jonathan[1]
Billed height6 ft 6 in[2]
Billed weight285–340 lb[2]
Billed fromSalt Lake City, Utah
Trained byBrother Jonathan
Debut1949
Retired1980

Don Heaton (born April 29, 1931), also known as Don Leo Jonathan, is an American former professional wrestler.[2]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Jonathan, nicknamed "The Mormon Giant" was a second generation star (his father was former wrestler Brother Jonathan)[1] who made his professional wrestling debut after World War II.[1] Over the course of his career, he competed around the world, making stops in Europe, South Africa, Australia and Japan; he wrestled more often, however, in the United States and Canada. His first championship wins occurred in Montreal with the International Wrestling Association, where he twice captured their International Heavyweight title.

Elsewhere in Canada, Jonathan found more success competing in Toronto's National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) affiliate Maple Leaf Wrestling (where he first teamed with Gene Kiniski to win the Canadian Open Tag Team title, in 1959) and in Winnipeg, where he wrestled for NWA member Alex Turk Promotions (twice winning their International Tag Team title) and for the American Wrestling Association. Jonathan also got a taste of World heavyweight gold when he won the AWA-affiliated Omaha territory's version of the World title three times in 1961.

Canada eventually became home to Jonathan in the early 1960s as he settled in the Vancouver suburb of Langley. Making Vancouver his home base, he competed frequently for NWA All Star Wrestling, winning five Pacific Coast Heavyweight titles between 1970 and 1977, the NWA World Tag Team title (with Dominic Denucci) in 1966, and a record 18 Canadian Tag Team titles between 1964 and 1978, as well as challenging for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against such titleholders as Kiniski, Dory Funk, Jr. and Jack Brisco; he also engaged in feuds with Kiniski and Dutch Savage in All Star, as well as teaming with them. On May 31, 1972, in what was billed as the "match of the century," Jonathan defeated Le Géant Jean Ferré (André the Giant) by disqualification.[2] On September 7, 1972, in a match which was billed as the "Battle of the Giants" Jonathan had a rematch against André, this time losing by disqualification.[3] Late in his career, he appeared as one of the wrestlers in the 1978 Sylvester Stallone movie Paradise Alley.

Jonathan wrestled his final match, teaming with André the Giant and Roddy Piper to defeat The Sheepherders and Buddy Rose in Vancouver on March 10, 1980,[4] before retiring from the ring that year. On November 5, 2005, he appeared at an event in Surrey, British Columbia, presented by Top Ranked Wrestling (prior to its purchase by NWA: Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling) to be honored in a special ceremony for his contributions to the sport. On May 20, 2006, he was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in Amsterdam, New York.

As of 2011, Don Leo Jonathan continues to represent the sport he loves, and makes appearances from time to time on Cloverleaf Radio, a Blog Talk Radio show.[citation needed]

On January 8, 2012, Don Leo Jonathan Headlines The Cloverleaf Radio Hall of Fame, Class of 2012.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Jonathan was born in Hurricane, Utah and raised as a Mormon.[1] He played high school football and learned martial arts.[5] Before entering the world of professional wrestling, Jonathan was a sailor in the United States Navy.[1][5]

He has lived in Vancouver, British Columbia since 1963.[1][2] He is married to a woman named Rose.[1] After retiring from professional wrestling, he pursued a career in underwater inventions and exploration.[5] He survived bladder cancer.[1]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Oliver, Greg (September 12, 2006). "Don Leo Jonathon reflects back". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Don Leo Jonathan". SLAM! Wrestling. January 12, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  3. ^ André the Giant vs. Don Leo Jonathan - May 31 and September 7, 1972 at Old School Wrestling
  4. ^ André/Jonathan/Piper vs. Sheepherders/Rose - March 10, 1980 at Old School Wrestling
  5. ^ a b c d Kenyon, J Michael. "Don Leo Jonathan". Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  6. ^ "Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame (1948-1990)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. 
  7. ^ "International Television Tag Team Title (Los Angeles)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. 

External links[edit]