Ocala Star-Banner – August 11, 1985
By Patti Griffiths
Works Hard For The Money
She’s called “The Fabulous Moolah.” The way they build her up you expect to see her break the door down, teeth bared, eyes blazing, as she enters for an interview with the press.
We wait in a small office just off the dressing rooms at the Ocala Jai Alai Fronton, where the pro wrestling matches are about an hour away from starting.
The pictures we were shown of Moolah in action are awe-inspiring. She looks about 6-feet tall. Her figure kind of reminds one of a Lily Langtree in tights… you know, sort of zaftig with a little Mr. T thrown in.
The doors open. Public relations representative Mark Beiro enters with a short lady in a chic white pantsuit. We all stand up. Beiro looks at us. He looks around the room. “Moolah is here now,” he says.
We look toward the door. Beiro looks at us. “This is Moolah!” he announces.
This is Moolah?
“How do you do,” she says, in a soft, South Carolina drawl, extending a beautifully manicured hand adorned with a gold and diamond ring that could knock your eye out.
From her copper-colored hair, to her piercing blue kohl-outlined eyes, Moolah, at first, does not appear to be any different from any one of our own mothers. Then she tells us, “I’ve had fingers broken, broke my collarbone twice – and they were compound fractures, the bones were sticking out – I broke my ankles, lets see… by legs… I put my teeth through my front lip once,” she says, showing a faint scar above her mauve colored lips, “and I got my face opened down one side – I looked like a piece of raw beef,” she comments, tracing another faint scar that runs from above her left eyebrow down across her cheek. We don’t want to know the rest.
Why does she do it? “I love it. I love the money. That’s the Moolah,” she explains, her eyes shooting sparks. “I love the people, booing, shouting – it doesn’t matter.”
The truth is that wrestling has been very good to Moolah. “Because I saved my nest egg,” she says. “I have condos, some real estate but I work hard for it. I came from a family of 13. 12 boys. I was the only girl. I’ve picked cotton, peaches, apples… I used to work from early in the morning so’s I could pick 100 pounds of cotton for $2.”
But now Moolah doesn’t have to pick cotton. She’s got a wrestling school in Columbia where young ladies go to study the fine points of body slams and wrestling holds.
And Moolah has become a crusader. She has just come back from the Ladies International Wrestling Association Convention in Las Vegas where topics on the agenda included group insurance (“We can’t get insurance in our business, you know,” Moolah confides), and raising funds for a convalescent home for women ex-wrestlers who can’t wrestle with life as well as they used to wrestle in the ring.
Moolah in the ring is something to see. Whether you believe pro wrestling is fake or real, there is no doubt that it takes incredible skill to pull off the physical slaps and slams without getting killed.
And don’t forget, Moolah is no spring chicken. She began wrestling when she was 15, has been a world champion for 27 years and eight months. Admitting to being 45, she feels she has a few good years left.
That’s why Moolah takes good care of herself. She doesn’t smoke, or drink, gets eight hours of sleep each night, and drinks a lot of milk, “for the bones,” she says.
Wrestling has come a long way in the last 20 years, according to Moolah. “It used to be a ‘redneck’ kind of thing, but now you’ve got wrestling on the networks, which it never was before – we do videos, movies, operas – it’s just gone crazy,” she says.
Obviously, there’s a golden opportunity out there to make more moolah… and Moolah isn’t going to pass up an opportunity to cash in, even if she has to break a few bones to prove it.
“That’s the fun,” she says.
And she doesn’t suffer any remorse at all when she hurts other wrestlers. “They should keep themselves in better condition,” she says stoically. “If they don’t want to get hurt they should quit.”
They had better. ‘Cause obviously Moolah won’t.