PITTSBURGH — Bruno Sammartino, who was once among the highest-paid athletes in the United States, died April 18 at age 82.
A native of the small Italian mountain town of Pizzoferrato in the Abruzzi region, Mr. Sammartino was the last of a dying breed that ruled the wrestling world before the likes of Vince McMahon.
Mr. Sammartino, who narrowly missed making the U.S. Olympic team as a weightlifter and rejected an opportunity to try out for the Pittsburgh Steelers, settled instead for the rowdy but remunerative world of professional wrestling.
Bruno never forgot his roots and consistently boasted of his pride in being Italian during weekly interviews on TV wrestling programs.
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