Wrestling's first 'goddess' dies
Lillian Ellison, professional wrestling's Fabulous Moolah, has died. She was 84.
Ellison died Friday, according to Dunbar Funeral Home in Columbia.
Born Mary Lillian Ellison in 1923, she was dubbed the Fabulous Moolah after saying she wrestled "for the money ... for the moolah."
She was a longtime champion and the first woman inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame. Her autobiography, "The Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle," was published in 2003.
"She was famous, but I never looked at her that way," daughter Mary Austin, 66, told The State. "She was just Mom, someone that was always there for me. Someone I could turn to."
Ellison grew up in the small Kershaw County community of Tookiedoo, the youngest of 13 children and the only girl. Austin said her mother had six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, loved her family and wrestling.
Her obituary from the funeral home lists 63-year-old Katie Glass of Columbia as Ellison's adopted daughter. Glass, known as "Diamond Lil," was a professional midget wrestler for 25 years. She said she was just 17 when she moved to Columbia to live with Ellison and learn to wrestle.
"She just taught me the basics, the holds, how to get somebody down, lock them down and everything," Glass told The State.
Glass said she will miss Ellison.
"It's going to be hard, I'll tell you," Glass said. "We're doing the best we can. She was there for me. She's a very nice lady. I'm going to miss her dearly and I love her very much."