By Jerome Wilen
I first remember Captain Lou Albano in the old Cyndi Lauper video “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.” Albano, with the rubber bands in his beard, played Lauper’s strict father. Following the video, Lauper appeared at WrestleMania. I will also remember Lou with the rubber bands in his beard and the crazy Hawaiian shirts he would wear unbuttoned. Lou was a true legend of the sport and will be missed.
Louis Vincent Albano was born July 29, 1933 in Rome Italy. Albano passed away on October 14, 2009 at age 76 from natural causes. Albano and his family relocated to Mount Vernon, NY. After briefly attending the University of Tennessee on a football scholarship, Albano decided to leave college and join the army. While in the army, he began developing an interest in professional wrestling while employed as a bouncer at a bar where he met two professional wrestlers. Albano began his wrestling career in 1953 in Canada where he defeated Bob Lazaro.
On October 14, 2009 at age 76, while under hospice care in his home, Albano passed away from natural causes. He is survived by his wife Geri, their four children and 14 grandchildren.
World Wide Wrestling Federation -1967
Albano started his career in Vincent McMahon, Sr.’s World Wide Wrestling Federation where he and tag team partner Tony Altimore won the United States Tag Team Championship.
With the help of Bruno Sammartino, Albano repackaged himself to be a brash manger going by the gimmick of Captain Lou Albano, sporting Hawaiian type shirts with rubber bands in his beard. Albano also managed Pat Patterson, Don Muraco, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine to WWF Intercontinental Championship titles wins.
In the 1980’s, Lou Albano appeared in Cyndi Lauper’s music videos for “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, “She Bop”, and “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough.” This began a storyline of the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection which started the cross-promotion of pro wrestling and the music industry. During an appearance at Madison Square Garden, Albano (in a storyline) made sexist comments that upset Lauper and non-wrestling fans. Also, on WWF TV, Albano made claims he was Lauper’s manager and was the one who really wrote her songs, thus have the two settle their differences on the MTV special The War to Settle the Score. After Lauper’s victory, Albano apologized and became an instant fan favorite (babyface) and the new face of Rock ‘n’ Wrestling.
The cross over storyline brought much success to the pro wrestling industry and helped the WWF cross-over into mainstream pop culture. After the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection was gone, Albano left the WWF in 1996, but did return briefly in 1994 to co-manage the Headshrinkers.
In 1996, Albano was inducted in the WWF Hall of Fame. In 1998, Albano released his book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Pro-Wrestling with Bert Sugar.
In 2008, Albano released his autobiography Often Imitated Never Duplicated with the foreword written by Cyndi Lauper.
Albano TV and Film appearances:
Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!
Stay Tuned (staring John Ritter)
Stared in the film Body Slam alongside Roddy Piper.
Managed and performed with rock group NRQB who wrote the song “Captain Lou” in his honor.
Source: wwe.com & Wikipedia