Gorgeous George led to Julia Allison. Which is to say, he was "one of the first entertainers to create a faux persona that elicited hisses." The original fameball! George was a pro wrestler in the 1940s, and figured out that being a bad guy could be just as lucrative as being a good guy—and a lot easier. A new biography of GG has just come out, and his crazy life as a body-slamming fop offers plenty of guidance to anyone considering using villainy as a path to fame. Five things to set you out properly on your road to evil destiny:
- Be desperate. Gorgeous George got into wrestling, which was fake, but also offered the very real assurance of getting injured. He risked getting his ass kicked on the street by adopting such a pansy-ish persona. He once took a match in which, if he lost, he'd have to cut off his beloved hair. Why? He needed the money!
- Be feared. It's impossible to survive long as a villain if people don't have a fundamental fear of you. Otherwise, you'll be torn to pieces (literally, in the olden days; now, just your reputation is at stake). George weighed 215 pounds, was a good athlete, and scared the yokels with his weirdness, besides.
- Have a talent. You can't just be hated. You have to be hated for doing something you're good at. George was actually a good wrestler and a showman. Julia Allison is actually talented in charm. Being a villain without talent makes you, for example, the Son of Sam.
- Get a good outfit. Oh, this is key. Be memorable! Gorgeous George had long hair, which he died blond and curled before matches; toted around a tea set to indicate his upper-crust persona; and had "a man-servant who attended him in the ring and sprayed perfume wherever he would walk." That's style. Kim Kardashian wears booty shorts. Every successful villain has their own thing.
- Drown your sorrows. Upside of being a famous bad guy: Fame. Downside: You're a bad guy. Being a villain can be hard on the soul. Gorgeous George ended up as an alcoholic who "literally drank himself to death." But you can say that for lots of non-famous jerks too.