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Don King (1931)

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  Summary  

Donald "Don" King is an American boxing promoter, whose career highlights include promoting "The Rumble in the Jungle" and the "Thrilla in Manila". He also had a long association with Mike Tyson. King has promoted some of the most prominent names in boxing, including Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Julio César Chávez, Andrew Golota, Félix Trinidad, Roy Jones Jr. Marco Antonio Barrera and Nikolay Valuev.

  Biography  

 early life
Don King was born in Cleveland, Ohio. After dropping out of Kent State University, he ran an illegal bookmaking operation, and was charged for killing two men in separate incidents 13 years apart. The first was determined to be justifiable homicide after it was found that King shot Hillary Brown in the back and killed him while he was attempting to rob one of King's gambling houses. King was convicted of second degree murder for the second killing in 1966 after he was found guilty of stomping to death an employee, Sam Garrett, who owed him $600. In an ex parte meeting with King's attorney, the judge reduced King's conviction to nonnegligent manslaughter for which King served just under four years in prison. King was later pardoned for the crime in 1983 by Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes, with letters from Jesse Jackson, Coretta Scott King, George Voinovich, Art Modell, and Gabe Paul, among others, being written in support of King.

 career
King entered the boxing world after convincing Muhammad Ali to box in a charity exhibition for a local hospital in Cleveland with the help of singer Lloyd Price. Early on he formed a partnership with a local promoter named Don Elbaum, who already had a stable of fighters in Cleveland and years of experience in boxing. In 1974, King negotiated to promote a heavyweight championship fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire, popularly known as "The Rumble in the Jungle". The fight between Ali and Foreman was a much-anticipated event. King's rivals all sought to promote the bout, but King was able to secure the then-record $10 million purse through an arrangement with the Zaire government.

King solidified his position as one of boxing's preeminent promoters the following year with the third fight between Ali and Joe Frazier in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, which King deemed the "Thrilla In Manila". Aside from promoting the premier heavyweight fights of the 1970s, King was also busy expanding his boxing empire. Throughout the decade, he compiled an impressive roster of fighters, many of whom would finish their career with Hall of Fame credentials. Fighters like Larry Holmes, Wilfred Benítez, Roberto Durán, Salvador Sánchez, Wilfredo Gómez, and Alexis Argüello would all fight under the Don King Productions promotional banner in the 1970s.

For the next two decades, King continued to be among boxing's most successful promoters. Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Julio César Chávez, Aaron Pryor, Bernard Hopkins, Ricardo Lopez, Félix Trinidad, Terry Norris, Carlos Zarate, Azumah Nelson, Andrzej Gołota, Mike McCallum, Gerald McClellan, Meldrick Taylor, Marco Antonio Barrera and Ricardo Mayorga are some of the boxers who chose King to promote many of their biggest fights.

Outside of boxing, he also managed the Jacksons' 1984 Victory Tour.

King was elected to the Gaming Hall of Fame in 2008.

 personal life
Don King's wife Henrietta passed away on December 2, 2010 at the age of 87. He has a daughter Debbie, and sons, Carl and Eric. King is also said to be close to his niece, Jean King-Battle. He has five grandchildren. King is politically active and made media appearances promoting George W. Bush during the 2004 U.S. presidential election, which included attendance at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City. On June 10, 1987 King was made a Mason-on-Sight by Grand Master Odes J. Kyle Jr. of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ohio; thereby making him a Prince Hall Freemason. The following year he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane letters degree from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, by University President Dr. Arthur E. Thomas.

King has conducted an annual turkey giveaway each Christmas for several years, in which he distributes two thousand free turkeys to needy South Floridians.

  Television
King frequently appears on talk shows including Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Howard Stern Show to promote fights. He has been portrayed by Dave Chappelle in a skit about a "Gay America", promoting a boxing match between two homosexual boxers. In 1995, HBO aired Tyson, a television movie based upon the life of Mike Tyson where King was portrayed by actor Paul Winfield. Winfield also provides the voice of boxing manager Lucius Sweet on "The Simpsons". It was said that Sweet is "exactly as rich and famous as Don King and looks just like him too."

In 1997, actor Ving Rhames played King in a made for TV movie, Don King: Only in America which aired on HBO. Rhames won a Golden Globe award for his portrayal of King. In a 1998 episode of South Park, titled "Damien", Jesus and Satan are to have a boxing match to decide the conflict between good and evil, and Don King represents Satan.

In its first season, In Living Color featured a one-time sketch entitled "King: The Early Years", set in a schoolyard in 1939, in which the narrator led viewers to believe that Martin Luther King, Jr. got his start in childhood as a peacemaker between two fighting classmates—until "King" was revealed as a young Don King , who promoted the schoolyard scuffle.

In the episode "My Brother's Keeper" of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Carlton is portrayed as Don King in one of Will's dreams. On an episode of Boy Meets World, Cory is having really bad hair problems, and his hair is similar to Don King's. One kid even made fun of Cory by saying, "Hey look, it's Don King." In Celebrity Deathmatch, Don King Kongs's death was a running gag during the series' first season. In the final episode of the second season, he was matched against Donald Trump, with King being killed again, this time in the ring.

In New Zealand a popular Sunday morning kids program What Now was known for its Don King skit. The actor (Jason Fa'afoi) would appear in front of a grey screen dressed as Don King and begin every skit with "Hi I'm Donk Ing...and you're not" before advertising some useless product.

In the episode Knock It Off of Pucca series, Don King was parodied by the character Muji. The villain was watching a fight between Garu and Abyo in a boxing ring and he had Don King's hair.

Wayne Brady frequently impersonated King on Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Twice in a game called "Hats" where Brady wore wigs similar to King's hair and once in a game of "Weird Newscasters" where Brady had to be a Sportscaster as King.

On The Suite Life On Deck, Mr. Moseby presents a sumo wrestling match in a tuxedo and a wig with King's hairstyle.

  Movies
In the feature film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, the Daimyo emerges from a bell struck by a cannonball with his hair sticking straight up. Donatello says, "Hey, look — Don King!". In the film Hot Shots at a fight it is mentioned "This should be a good fight, both men work for Don King", before the bell is rung and one fighter takes an obvious dive after the first punch is thrown and missed. The character of flashy boxing promoter George Washington Duke, played by Richard Gant in the film Rocky V, is based on King and uses his famous catchphrase, "Only in America!" King acted in a small role as more or less himself in 1982's The Last Fight and in the 1985 comedy Head Office. He also had another brief cameo as himself in the 1997 movie The Devil's Advocate. James Earl Jones portrayed a flamboyant boxing promoter in the 1984 made-for-television movie The Las Vegas Strip War, named Jack Madrid, whose character was clearly inspired by Don King. In the movie, Scary Movie 4, a man similar to Don King falls on the son of the antagonist. In The Great White Hype, Samuel L. Jackson's character The Reverend is a reflection of Don King, demonstrating the level of despair induced by Don King's control over both boxers and the sport itself. In the film a Biography of fight promoter Don King follows his rise from a street goon convicted of strong arm tactics to a minor music promoter to pulling off his first major fight with Muhammed Ali for a charity.

Don King makes an appearance in the 2008 documentary, Beyond the Ropes.

  Video games
In the Xbox video game Jade Empire, a character named Qui The Promoter is based on Don King, including personality and his speech patterns. In the game ABC Wide World of Sports Boxing the top manager is reminiscent of King. Also, Don King helped create a video game called Don King Presents: Prizefighter for the Xbox 360, which he promoted on IGN's podcast Three Red Lights, and another called Don King Boxing for the Wii. There is also a Nintendo DS version of Don King Boxing.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Don King (boxing promoter)", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.