- This article is about Vince McMahon Sr., the former wrestling promoter. For his son, see Vince McMahon, Jr..
Vincent James "Vince" McMahon, better known as Vince McMahon, Sr. (July 6, 1914 – May 24, 1984) was an American professional wrestling promoter. He is best known for founding the American promotion, World Wide Wrestling Federation, which is now known as WWE.
Vincent James McMahon was born on July 6, 1914 in Harlem, New York. His father Roderick James "Jess" McMahon, an Irish-American, was a successful boxing, wrestling and concert promoter who had worked with legendary Madison Square Garden promoter Tex Rickard and his mother Rose, was a New Yorker of Irish descent. He had an older brother, Roderick Jr., and a younger sister, Dorothy.
He saw the tremendous potential for growth that the pro wrestling industry had in the era following World War II, especially with the development of television and its insatiable need for new programming. Similar to boxing, wrestling took place primarily within a small ring and could be covered adequately by one or two cameras, and venues for it could readily be assembled in television studios, lessening production costs.
McMahon's group, the Capitol Wrestling Corporation (later the World Wide Wrestling Federation, World Wrestling Federation, World Wrestling Entertainment, now WWE) came to dominate professional wrestling in the 1950s and 1960s in what was then the nation's most populous area—the Northeast. His control was primarily in Baltimore, New York, and New Jersey. (Despite its name, the WWWF was, like all pro wrestling promotions of its time, mostly a regional operation. It was, however, the one that came to dominate the most lucrative region). He had an eye for talent and for "booking" the matches that would lead to the most drama and excitement for the fans. In 1955, McMahon began airing his matches on television on Wednesday nights; the telecast originated from an old barn in Washington, D.C. In her biography, wrestler The Fabulous Moolah claimed that he was also one of the first promoters to split gate proceeds with his wrestlers.
In 1982, McMahon sold the parent company of the WWF to his son Vincent Kennedy McMahon and his company Titan Sports, Inc. The younger Vince, much to his father's initial concern, set out to make it truly national and even truly worldwide in scope. "Had my father known what I was going to do," the younger McMahon told Sports Illustrated in 1991, "he never would have sold his stock to me." The younger Vince McMahon's competitive tactics were successful, and the WWF quickly became the most prominent exponents of "Sports Entertainment". Today, it is now known as WWE, formerly World Wrestling Entertainment. The elder Vince's grandchildren Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon have also worked for the WWE, until Shane's resignation in January 2010.
McMahon had his only son Vincent K. McMahon with his first wife Vicki Askew in 1945. McMahon married his second wife, Juanita W. Johnston (1914 - 1998), and the couple lived in Fort Lauderdale in the mid-1950s.
On May 24, 1984, McMahon died from pancreatic cancer. He was 69 years old. He is buried in Bonnell Cemetery in Greenwich, Connecticut.
- World Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Entertainment
- Founder of World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment (as the World Wide Wrestling Federation) (1963)
- WWF Hall of Fame (Class of 1996)
- Other accomplishments
- Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame (Class of 1984)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards