An Obituary for Mae Young, Unladylike Wrestler

We’re not a month into 2014, but this obituary for the unladylike wrestler named Mae Young is surely going to be one of the most interesting ones this year:

Mae Young — make that the Great Mae Young — who pulled hair and took cheap shots, who preferred actually fighting to pretending, who was, by her own account and that of many other female wrestlers, the greatest and dirtiest of them all, died on Tuesday in Columbia, S.C. She was 90, and her last round in the ring was in 2010.

Mae Young, on the right, doing her thing.

Mae Young, on the right, doing her thing.

You have to love her bravado:

“Anybody can be a baby face, what we call a clean wrestler,” she said in “Lipstick & Dynamite: The First Ladies of Wrestling,” a 2004 documentary. “They don’t have to do nothing. It’s the heel that carries the whole show. I’ve always been a heel, and I wouldn’t be anything else but.”

“This is a business that you have to love, and if you love it you live it.”  —Mae Young, RIP.

Obituary for Leon Leyson, Youngest Survivor on Schindler’s List

Schindler’s List is one of my all-time favourite films. It is worth rewatching after I read an obituary of Leon Leyson, the youngest survivor on Oskar Schindler’s list, in this Los Angeles Times piece.

Leyson, a longtime resident of Fullerton, died Saturday in Whittier after a four-year battle with lymphoma, his daughter Stacy Wilfong said. He was 83.

She said her father was reluctant to talk about the war years because he “didn’t think anybody was interested. He didn’t have public speaking experience. He didn’t think he was going to be any good.”

His reticence may also have been due to his attitude that, having been given a second chance at life, he just wanted to get on with it.

“The truth is, I did not live my life in the shadow of the Holocaust,” he told the Portland Oregonian in 1997. “I did not give my children a legacy of fear. I gave them a legacy of freedom.”

The youngest of five children of a glass factory worker and his wife, Leyson was born Sept. 15, 1929, in Narewka, Poland, a village near the Russian border. He later moved to Krakow with his family.

He was a few weeks shy of his 10th birthday in 1939 when German forces invaded Poland and life as he had known it began to crumble.

Six months after the invasion, Poland’s Jews were ordered into a section of Krakow enclosed by a fence, the tops of which, Leyson often recalled, resembled grave markers. “I don’t think that was an accident,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1994. His parents loaded their belongings onto a wagon and were crammed into one bedroom of an apartment in the Jewish ghetto with only a sheet separating them from another family.

Leyson didn’t discount his luck in survival:

“I can recount dozens of times where if I had stepped … to my left I would have been gone, or if I happened to step to my right,” Leyson told The Times. “It wasn’t anything like being smart or clever or anything like that.”

Worth reading the article for the last line alone. So touching.

The Obituary of Count Robert de La Rochefoucauld

The year 2012 is turning out to be a good one for excellent obituaries. This one of Count Robert de La Rochefoucauld certainly fits the bill. Here’s an excerpt:

En route to his execution in Auxerre, La Rochefoucauld made a break, leaping from the back of the truck carrying him to his doom, and dodging the bullets fired by his two guards. Sprinting through the empty streets, he found himself in front of the Gestapo’s headquarters, where a chauffeur was pacing near a limousine bearing the swastika flag. Spotting the key in the ignition, La Rochefoucauld jumped in and roared off, following the Route Nationale past the prison he had left an hour earlier.

He smashed through a roadblock before dumping the car and circling back towards Auxerre on foot under cover of night. He sheltered with an epicier. From Auxerre, friends in the Resistance helped him on to a train for Paris, where he evaded German soldiers hunting him by curling up underneath the sink in the lavatory. “When we arrived in Paris I felt drunk with freedom,” he recalled.

Still, this is only the second best obituary of the year. The best one? That of John Fairfax.

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(HT: @legalnomads)

The Best Obituary Ever

John Fairfax lead an eventful life. He crossed the Atlantic Ocean because it was there.  He then crossed the Pacific Ocean because it was also there. And he did it by ROWING. The New York Times ran his obituary today, and it’s the most impressive obituary I’ve ever read. See for yourself, but here’s a great nugget:

At 9, he settled a dispute with a pistol. At 13, he lit out for the Amazon jungle.

At 20, he attempted suicide-by-jaguar. Afterward he was apprenticed to a pirate. To please his mother, who did not take kindly to his being a pirate, he briefly managed a mink farm, one of the few truly dull entries on his otherwise crackling résumé, which lately included a career as a professional gambler.

Mr. Fairfax was among the last avatars of a centuries-old figure: the lone-wolf explorer, whose exploits are conceived to satisfy few but himself. His was a solitary, contemplative art that has been all but lost amid the contrived derring-do of adventure-based reality television.

It doesn’t get much better than that. John Fairfax was the real most interesting man in the world.

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(hat tip: @gourmetpigs)