Hometown: Chicago, IL
Notable WCCW Feuds: The Von Erich family, Devastation Inc., Bruiser Brody.
Need to Know Facts: Gary Hart (born Gary Williams) began his career in professional wrestling in 1960 at the ripe age of nineteen in the midwest region of the United States. Admittedly not the best wrestler -- although he held the American Tag Team Championship with The Spoiler on three separate occasions -- Hart had a gift in recognizing talent for the squared circle, and became a manager in the late 1960's, taking on the moniker of "Playboy" Gary Hart.
Although the tremendously successful Hart achieved great success both nationally and internationally during his illustrious career, his achievements in the state of Texas are what helped him become the legendary manager he is considered today.
Hart not only took on the duty of a ringside manager, but also became owner Jack Adkisson’s (Fritz Von Erich) trusted right hand man behind the scenes, playing matchmaker and keeping massive egos in check backstage. Although the two legends had several verbal altercations -- Gary was fired and re-hired by Fritz on three different occasions -- they respected each other’s opinions and position within the promotion.
Gary was a fixture in the Dallas/Fort Worth wrestling scene for years, making a name for himself in Big Time and World Class Championship Wrestling in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. He managed such legends as Bruiser Brody, Big John Studd, Gino Hernandez, the Great Kabuki, Chris Adams and Al Perez as he waged war with Fritz Von Erich, his sons, and anyone else who dared align themselves with them.
Hart would continue to achieve world championship success when he led “Latin Heartthrob” Al Perez to the WCWA World title on August 21, 1987. He would continue to work for WCCW until another dispute with Fritz -- this one reportedly over the physical condition of Fritz’s son Kerry -- led Hart to forever sever his ties with Adkisson’s World Class promotion.
In addition to World Class II, Hart would reappear periodically on several local Texas independent shows throughout the 1990's, eventually making a surprise return in the Major League Wrestling promotion in 2004 to manage Lo Ki and Homicide. During his last years, the legendary "Playboy" appeared in the documentaries Heroes of World Class, WWE's Triumph and Tragedy of WCCW and former WCCW executive producer Mickey Grant's Gentleman's Choice (dealing with the rise and fall of Chris Adams). Sadly, Gary died of a heart attack on March 16, 2008, shortly after completing his autobiography, My Life in Wrestling...with a Little Help from My Friends. The book was published posthumously in June 2009.
The thing that Gary understood, I think, better than anybody else in wrestling and as well as anybody in writing or directing or performing in any field, was that the truly effective heel must be convinced that he is really the babyface and of the rightness of his own twisted actions and warped morality. Even a casual examination of real life historical heels demonstrates the correctness of this. I think this was what set him apart from other managers and his wrestlers apart from most of the other heel wrestlers. They were fully realized characters and everybody else tended to be cartoons.Professional wrestling owes an inestimable debt to "Playboy" Gary Hart, the possessor of one of the greatest minds in the sport's long history. He will never be forgotten by its true fans, nor will there be another like him.