Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Birthday to Lanny Poffo

Today is a special day. It is the birthday of a true gentleman, Lanny Poffo. Poffo, the son of Angelo Poffo and the younger brother of Randy Savage, grew up in Downers Grove (IL). Poffo was a star athlete before he entered pro wrestling. He started in the NWA territories, but enjoyed real success in International Championship Wrestling (ICW).
In 1985, Poffo and Savage joined the WWF (now WWE), soon after
the ICW folded. In the WWF, Poffo was known as Leaping Lanny Poffo, the Poet Laureate. He read poems (that he wrote) about his opponents before matches. Poffo was quite a high-flyer, being one of the first wrestlers in the U.S. to use the moonsault. After a few years, he took on the persona of 'the Genius', a cap and gown-wearing bad guy.
Poffo has released 2 books of poems. The first, 'Wrestling with Rhyme', is a collection of the poems he wrote about his fellow WWF wrestlers. The second, 'Limericks from the Heart (and Lungs!)', is filled with 335 anti-smoking limericks, all very amusing! Both books can be enjoyed by all ages.
I had the pleasure of getting to know Poffo a little bit, when he agreed to appear in Lerner Newspapers' Newspaper In Education ad series. Poffo graciously allowed me to interview him for a companion article. Poffo's ad was highly praised by our readers (more about that in a future post). I had the pleasure of meeting Poffo at a Wrestling Reunion. We talked at length and I walked away even more impressed. Poffo is so genuinely nice.
I have briefly summarized Poffo's career, but he is not simply defined by his wrestling career. He is an author, poet, motivational speaker, counselor, father and more. For me, I am grateful I can call him a friend!
Happy Birthday, Lanny!
Lanny Poffo and me in Tampa, FL-January 2008.

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