Jerry Lawler ‘stable’ after heart attack
(CNN) — World Wrestling Entertainment commentator Jerry “The King” Lawler was in stable condition Wednesday evening in a cardiac care unit in Montreal, two days after suffering a heart attack, the organization said.
“He is awake, recognizes family members and is communicating with them,” the WWE said in a posting on its website.
“Nothing 2 report on @JerryLawler other than he’s making progress & resting,” the wrestler’s ex-wife Stacy Carter said Wednesday on Twitter. “He has great docs & support. He’ll pull thru this I know it!!!”
Earlier in the day, she had said that test results showed Lawler had not suffered brain damage.
The larger-than-life figure, even within the flamboyant world of professional wrestling, collapsed Monday night during an event, the show’s producers said.
Lawler, 62, was given CPR in the locker room of the arena in Montreal before being taken to a hospital, co-host Michael Cole told viewers of the televised program.
“This is not part of tonight’s entertainment,” Cole said. “This is a real-life situation.”
Lawler made his name in wrestling in the 1970s, but became famous outside the wrestling world for a 1982 bout with comedian Andy Kaufman.
Kaufman, who had wrestling women in his nightclub act, accepted a challenge from Lawler, who accused him of demeaning the sport.
Before the match, Kaufman trash-talked both the wrestler and the crowd in Memphis, Tennessee, and the 6-foot, 243-pound Lawler trounced the skinny comedian, who was hauled away in a stretcher.
A few weeks later, the pair appeared on “Late Night with David Letterman” and got into an argument that ended with Lawler slapping Kaufman, followed by Kaufman delivering a profanity-laced tirade and being chased off the set.
The wrestler gave as good as he got in trash-talking the comedian, letting loose with: “Andy Kaufman’s mom wanted a girl, his father wanted a boy, and they were both satisfied!”
Lawler lists the slapping of Kaufman on the Letterman show as the highlight of his career.
But like much of Kaufman’s shtick, the feud was an elaborate put-on.
“They’d be at the coliseum, supposedly trying to kill each other, and then I’d get off the 10 o’clock newscast and walk into the newsroom, and Jerry and Andy would be sitting in an edit booth discussing what had happened and where to go from there,” veteran Memphis wrestling announcer Dave Brown told CNN earlier this year.
Lawler was inducted into the Connecticut-based WWE’s Hall of Fame in 2007 and played himself in the 1999 Kaufman biopic “Man on the Moon.”
A native of Memphis, with bright blue eyes and a baby face into his 60s, Lawler describes himself as loved in his hometown but hated in his wrestling federation, where his “arrogant, egotistical attitude” got him into feuds with former WWF champ Bret Hart and federation head Vince McMahon.
The WWF is the former name of the WWE.