George was born in North Java, New York. He wrestled for both St. Bonaventure University and for the University of Michigan. He also represented the United States in freestyle wrestling at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, placing 4th in his class. During the years 1926-1929, Ed Don George attended the University of Michigan, with his concentration of study in engineering. Later on, in 1929, at St. Bonaventure University, he graduated with a college degree.
Quick and powerful, he took on the name "Ed Don George" and began his professional career shortly after returning from the Olympics. He captured the NWA world heavyweight title on December 10, 1930, from Gus Sonnenberg. Double-crossed by Ed “Stranger” Lewis in Los Angeles on April 13, 1931, George dropped the title to the Strangler, but promoter Paul Bowser maneuvered it back to George, who held it for nearly four years, finally losing it to Danno O'Mahony on June 30, 1935. George remained one of the top box office draws of the 1930s, and on April 5, 1937, defeated Al Perreira in Paris to capture the European version of the world title.
In March 1942 he joined the US Navy. There he taught hand-to-hand combat to naval air cadets. In December 1945 he left the navy with the rank of Commander.
During the late 1940s through the 1950s he promoted numerous wrestling matches in the United States. In the mid 1950s he found himself promoting wrestling at the casinos in Havana, Cuba until Fidel Castro came to power.
In 1949, Ed Don George bought a 375-acre parcel just east of North Java, New York where Camp O'Ryan was situated. He then very soon afterwards leased this land for 25 years to the Federal government, which built, in conjunction with New York State, a New York National Guard training site.
Ed Don George died in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on September 18, 1985 and his body buried in the village of North Java, New York. He was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1996. In 2006 he was inducted posthumously into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Championships and accomplishments
- AWA World Heavyweight Championship (3 time)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- Other Championships