Major 50s/60s Wrestling Star Dies at 74


According to Greg Oliver at SLAM! Wrestling, Ray “Thunder” Stern died early this morning at the age of 74. The above article, which includes a detailed bio profiling Stern’s life and career, published this statement from his wife Debi:

Ray will be remembered for so many of his accomplishments and his incredible spirit, drive and dedication to anything he set out to achieve. He was a very unusual man with visions and the energy and know how to make things happen. He lived life to its fullest and I am fortunate to have had the most perfect marriage for 10 amazing years to the most wonderful man on earth. Ray left pieces of himself in all our hearts. Thank you for the love and support you have given us. had reported the following yesterday afternoon:

Ray “Thunder” Stern, a well known bodybuilder turned pro wrestler who was major star in the 50s and 60s, is being taken off life support systems today after complications from heart surgery.

Stern was born Walter Bookbinder in Brooklyn, New York on January 12, 1933, changing his name around 1950. He headlined at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, promoted by Roy Shire against Ray Stevens, in his biggest run. After wrestling, he went on to a strong and noteworthy career in real estate, aviation and health clubs. He is in the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame (click for more info).

Matthew Michaels is editor emeritus of Pulse Wrestling, and has been since the site launched.