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Les Kellett (1915 - January 9, 2002) was an English professional wrestler from Bradford, Yorkshire and was a Television favorite throughout the age of British televised wrestling. Kellett was notable for two major aspects of his career, his clownish behavior inside the ring and his hardman nature both inside and outside the ring.
He was born in Laisterdyke to Bill Kellett, a well known Bradford Engineer, and was educated in Bradford Moor School. He left school at 14 and followed in his father's footsteps and pursued a career in engineering. He became an amateur wrestler but expressed no apparent desire to become professional. Nonetheless he did turn profession in 1938 but had little time to establish himself in the sport as the outbreak of the Second World War disrupted his plans.
During the war he served as an engineer in the Merchant Navy. After he was demobbed and back in England he settled down in Manchester where he had a chance meeting with someone he knew from his Amateur days. That was wrestler Joe Hill who's name Kellett recognized on a poster for an event. Meeting with Hill the subject soon turned to money. Kellett asked how much Hill had on him to which Hill answered £5, which was more than Kellett made in a week and he wanted a chance to earn the same. Hill warned Kellett that Professional wrestling was different to Amateur wrestling and a much different game but Kellett was not deterred. Hill gave Kellett a tutorial in a small gym on Swain House Road. Soon after Kellett decided to move back to Bradford and return to wrestling full-time
When he was retraining to be a wrestler again and looking for bookings he paid a visit to Norman Morrell's gym in Bradford and made quite an impression during his trial match with Arthur Belshaw under shoot conditions when Belshaw locked a submission hold on his arm and demanded Kellett submit of he'd break the arm. "Break it!!" was Kelletts response. A similar moment occurred later when Kellett was having a workout with Morrell himself and Morrell trapped Kellett's fingers in a hold but could not get him to submit.
Soon he was off, traveling the country and picking up new fans in every city or town his visited.
As a wrestler Kellett was noted for his in ring antics. Kellett had a number of unique, trademark moves that nobody else used. One was being thrown under the bottom rope, face up, head first but hooking his feet on the bottom rope and hanging from the ring until fans at ringside pushed him back. Another was being thrown towards the ropes, falling backwards between the middle and top rope, spinning so that his feet hit the top rope and spun him back upright and into the ring. He also had a habit of pretending to be unsteady on his feet and waiting until the last moment when he was just about to be grappled or hit by his opponent before moving out of the way and forcing his opponent to lose balance. He was noted as well for "not hearing" the bell and continuing the contest during the break until the referee managed to get him to understand the bell had sounded. Another tactic of Kellett was to break the rules but act as if he had not known he had done so and then to tell his opponent what the rules were.
Kellett was perhaps the most popular wrestler in British wrestling and one of the greatest entertainers in the business. After he retired in 1975 at the age of 53 he continued to entertain by wrestling infrequently into his 60's and telling stories of his career. For many years he owned and ran a cafe called the Terminus and farmed pigs in the two acres behind his house on Thornton Road. In 2000 he suffered a personal tragedy as David, the son who followed in his footsteps and became a wrestler died, a premature death .
Kellett died in 2002 peacefully in his sleep.
Finishers and Signature moves
- Boston Crab
- Spinning Toe Hold
- Indian Death Lock
Championships and Accomplishments
- British Light Heavyweght Title - ? 1951 - ? 1952