Friday, September 21, 2012

An ode to Helen Hild

There is one woman who was instrumental in both of the worlds I fell into, and yet so little is actually known about her. I’d like to change that, even with this entirely too short entry.

In Tex Avery’s 1949 classic “The House of Tomorrow” audiences were treated to the image of a beautiful model. A lovely, blonde figure, posing politely of the TV marked for the father of the house.
And so stunning was she that at the end of the cartoon, a note from “The Management” appears, telling the audience that they will have one more glimpse of this young lady. But she is much more than meets the eye. For she is not your typical model at all.

She is Helen Hild. And she is someone no cartoon or wrestling historian should ever forget.

Born in 1927 as Gladys Helen Nevins, a native of Grand Isle, Nebraska, Helen was once a glamorous model, often contracted for work with the MGM studio. Helen appeared in all kinds of promotional material, all kinds of ads and the like, but the modeling industry then (as it is now) was rather cutthroat. As soon as Ms. Hild was of a certain age, she was unceremoniously ousted from this line of work.

Did that end her career? Of course not. Helen was a strong woman. This was just the beginning.

Back in the 40’s and 50’s, a model who was ousted from modeling, often found a home in professional wrestling. There, a still relatively young lady could find work as a valet, and many a former model back then found herself as a “Slave Girl” to a random wild man in the ring.

Helen was much more than a “Slave Girl” and she was eager to show it.
The world's first model to have gone from cartoon star to full time wrestler, the 5’6, 125 lbs. Helen took her training seriously, and began what was a lucrative career as a professional wrestler, and a groundbreaking one at that!

Here’s a scene taken from an Owensboro, KY newspaper, the scene is from a match held on August 9th, 1957, the first women’s match held in Seattle in 11 years at that time. Her opponent? WWE Hall of Famer and future 28 year Women’s Champion ~ The Fabulous Moolah:

Helen was a force to be reckoned with. The dynamic mixture of beauty and strength, she never cried or screamed her way through a match, she instead used the best of her abilities to take down her opponents as quickly as possible. In a world dominated by looks and feminine stereotypes, Helen was on par with the men, and thrived in brawling and technical matches.

Audiences loved the feisty Helen, who on occasion let her sons sit somewhere in the crowd. And the fans weren’t the only people to love Helen. A young wrestler by the name of Iron Mike Dibiase later married the beauty, and adopted her children as his own.
Helen’s short life was often defined by the difficulties she faced in life, and not too much of her private life was ever really shared with the public, outside of the tragedies that befell her, such as the sudden loss of her husband to a heart attack suffered in the ring, and the substance issues she faced. But one thing she is best known for now, is raising a legend herself. A wrestler named Ted Dibiase:
Who himself has raised three sons who are now wrestlers. The best known being middle child Ted Jr:
But Helen is a legend in her own right that should be remembered. In a world that once demanded that a woman’s place remain in the kitchen, from the silver screen to the wrestling ring, Helen proved that the will of a woman was anywhere she pleased.

1 comment:

  1. This fine lady was FAR ahead of her if i do say so myself 40s actress and wrestler