Christos Theofilou (Greek: Χρήστος Θεοφίλου; January 2, 1894 – August 19, 1975), better known as "The Golden Greek" Jim Londos (Greek: Τζίμ Λόντος), was a Greek American professional wrestler.

Jim Londos
JimLondos.jpg
Birth nameChristos Theofilou
Born(1894-01-02)January 2, 1894[1]
Koutsopodi, Argos, Greece
DiedAugust 19, 1975(1975-08-19) (aged 81)[2]
Escondido, California, U.S.
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Jim Londos
Billed height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)[1]
Billed weight200 lb (91 kg)[1]
Debut1912
Retired1953

Londos was one of the most popular stars on the professional wrestling circuit in the 1930s and 1940s.[3]

CareerEdit

Jim Londos was born Christos Theofilou in 1894 in Koutsopodi, Argos, Greece as the youngest of thirteen children of Theophilos and Maria. Before arriving in the United States, in his native Greece young Londos was a shepherd. His father, Theophilos was an amateur wrestler of considerable reputation, and is credited with having instructed his young son in the sport.[4]

At age thirteen he ran away from home and eventually emigrated to the United States. Working whenever he could, Theofilou took several odd jobs including cabin boy, construction jobs, and posing nude for figure drawing classes.[5] Theofilou landed a job as a catcher in a carnival acrobatic act. It was during this period that he was exposed to professional wrestling and began training. It was in the carnivals where Londos learned catch wrestling. Londos studied several different wrestling styles extensively and also trained in jiu-jitsu, which he came in contact with living near the Chinatown of San Francisco as a teenager.[6] Lou Thesz stated in his autobiography that Londos was a very capable shooter as well as a top attraction performer.

Londos' first matches, from 1912,[7] were as "The Wrestling Plasterer" Christopher Theophelus, a gimmick that saw him coming to the ring in overalls.[5] After a number of years, he dropped this in favour of wrestling under the name Jim Londos and being a no-nonsense professional wrestler.

Londos became the most popular wrestler in the 1930s and 1940s while continuing to attract large crowds until 1959, competing against several world champions including Ed "Stangler" Lewis, Dick Shikat, Ray Steele and Joe Stecher. Londos was notably scheduled to wrestle a young Lou Thesz in the mid-30s, however Thesz's coach George Tragos pulled him out of the match, fearing fear Londos would try to hurt the up-and-comer and turn the match into a legit contest.[8] In 1933, Londos competed in a mixed style exhibition contest against jiu-jitsu practitioner Oki Shikina. One of the notable stipulations was that Londos had to compete in a jiu-jitsu gi. The match ended a draw.[9]

Just before his retirement he married American woman Arva C. Rochwite (1912–1998), who was born in Clayton, Missouri. At the time of their marriage, Rochwite was described in press reports as a "St. Louis Aviatrix." The couple had three daughters: Diana, Demetra, and Christina. The Londos family moved to Escondido, California, where they settled on a 10-acre site nestled in an avocado grove. There, Londos quietly managed his orchard and other investments; he devoted the rest of his public life to charity.

Londos was considered a national hero in Greece. When he traveled there, one of his matches drew a crowd estimated as nearly 100,000 fans.[1]

RetirementEdit

Londos retired in 1953.[10] He spent the rest of his life working for charitable organizations. His favorite charity was Greek war orphans of World War II.[1] He was honored by both United States President Richard Nixon and King Paul of Greece for his philanthropic efforts.[1]

Londos died of a heart attack August 19, 1975, and is buried at Oak Hill Memorial Park in Escondido, California.

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Slagle, Steve. "Hall of Fame Inductee: Jim Londos". WrestlingMuseum.com. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  2. ^ "Mat Champion Jim Londos Dead". Classic Wrestling Articles. August 21, 2015. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  3. ^ Hornbaker, Tim (2016). "Londos, Jim". Legends of Pro Wrestling – 150 years of headlocks, body slams, and piledrivers (Revised ed.). New York, New York: Sports Publishing. pp. 23–24. ISBN 978-1-61321-808-2.
  4. ^ Hackett, T: Slaphappy: Pride, Prejudice, and Professional Wrestling, page 36. HarperCollins, 2006.
  5. ^ a b Hackett, page 37.
  6. ^ Solomon, Brian (April 1, 2015). Pro Wrestling FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the World's Most Entertaining Spectacle. Backbeat Books. ISBN 9781617135996.
  7. ^ "Message Board: Londos find". Wrestlingclassics.com. Retrieved May 13, 2022.
  8. ^ Kenyon, Lou Thesz with Kit Bauman ; edited by J. Michael (2011). Hooker (3rd ed.). Gallatin, Tenn.: Crowbar Press. ISBN 978-0-9844090-4-4. {{cite book}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  9. ^ "Bone-Breaking Jiu-Jitsu Oki's Hope Against Jim". Classic Wrestling Articles. Los Angeles Times. January 2, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2022.
  10. ^ "Profile: Jim Londos". WrestlingData.com. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 11, 2017. Retrieved March 21, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ @CACReunion (October 29, 2019). "Happy to announce that 2020 CAC..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  13. ^ Namako, Jason (May 22, 2015). "Kurt Angle reception set for 2015 National Pro Wrestling HOF". Wrestleview.com. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  14. ^ "STEVE AUSTIN & MORE: INTERNATIONAL PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2022 ANNOUNCED".
  15. ^ http://www.prowrestlinghistoricalsociety.com/mdsac-world-heavyweight-championship.html[dead link]
  16. ^ Gary Will and Royal Duncan (2006). "(United States: 19th Century & widely defended titles – NWA, WWF, AWA, IW, ECW, NWA) National Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  17. ^ Gary Will and Royal Duncan (2006). "New York: New York State Athletic Commission World Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  18. ^ Malnoske, Andrew. "Jim Londos". Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  19. ^ "Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame". Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  20. ^ "2018 WWE HALL OF FAME LEGACY WING INDUCTEES ARE". PWInsider.com. April 5, 2018. Retrieved May 13, 2022.
  21. ^ Gary Will and Royal Duncan (2006). "(California) Los Angeles: World Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  22. ^ Gary Will and Royal Duncan (2006). "(Maryland): World Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  23. ^ Gary Will and Royal Duncan (2006). "(Minnesota) Minneapolis: World Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  24. ^ Gary Will and Royal Duncan (2006). "(United States: 19th Century & widely defended titles – NWA, WWF, AWA, IW, ECW, NWA) World Heavyweight Title (first)". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.

External linksEdit