Monday, January 17, 2011

Dean Henry Detton (1908-1958) – Football Star & Professional Wrestler

Dean Detton

Dean Detton was a former University of Utah football star who went on to become a famous heavyweight wrestler in the 1930s and 1940s. He was one of eleven children and two of the nine boys became wrestlers.

He was the world heavyweight wrestling champion in 1936 and 1937. He lost the title after two years to the All-American football legend Bronko Nagurski.

He was known for his trademark toehold and shoulder tackles which combined traditional wrestling with a newer brand of more physical and showy wrestling.

After serving in World War II, he returned to California and promoted new wrestling talent. After a brief period in Southern California, Detton lived the last 14 years of his life in Hayward, California. Detton committed suicide by hanging himself in his tavern The Turf Club. The body was discovered by his wife and son. His wife said that he had been despondent over the financial challenges of his business. A few months earlier, Detton tried to throw himself in front of a moving train, but was only slightly injured.

Detton was a native of Utah and a member of the Mormon church.

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