Mick Foley
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Mick Foley

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The best kept secret in music

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Legendary wrestler Mick Foley spoke Saturday as part of presentation sponsored by the University Board.

"The nice thing about the lectures is the ad-libs that come up and reacting to the questions, because a lot of times the questions and answers segment leads to funny stories," Foley said.

During his two-hour lecture, Foley shared stories ranging from the first time he held hands with a girl in college, his experiences with Jake "the Snake" Roberts, a presidential commentary and his experiences in Africa.

He is the author of such books as "Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweat Socks" "Foley is Good," and "Tietam Brown,"

Probably the most popular topic was about fellow legendary wrestler Al Snow, someone Foley tells jokes about wherever he goes.

"I just started doing them a few years ago," Foley said. "It was just an inside joke that the fans became a part of. I think the fans enjoy hearing them.

"Deep down, I think Al Snow enjoys being the thought of these jokes and realizes that it's good for his career and I certainly enjoy telling them. If I stop getting a positive reaction from the crowd, I'll stop doing them, but that just hasn't been the case."

Foley now only travels a week each month, but it hasn't always been that way.

"When I was on the road with the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), we would be traveling 300 days a year, including travel dates, which I counted a day of work because on an off day, when it took me seven hours to get home, I considered that a work day," he said.

"But now I travel six days a month. And I try to volunteer a couple of days a week to kids who are less fortunate and to tell them about the importance of reading."

After his lecture, Foley signed autographs and the more than 400 in attendance were able to buy his book, "Tietam Brown."

"I may eventually make a comeback," Foley said, "if the right situation presents itself. I am not opposed to doing a big match. But I wouldn't want to make a habit out of it.

"The truth is I don't really miss it. I think a reason why I don't miss it is because I have the chance to do things like this. Between these lectures and writing these books, I feel I have a great outlet for my energies."
- Daily Eastern


Mick Foley, retired World Wrestling Federation wrestler, has played many roles in his lifetime. He’s been known as Cactus Jack, a sick, twisted and delusional wrestler; Dude Love, a heroic chick magnet, and Mankind, the deranged, misunderstood man with a good heart.

However, when the Long Island native visited Eastern’s campus Monday, he didn’t appear as any of the three characters he has portrayed throughout his 16-year wrestling career, but Foley came in his favorite role yet — himself.

Dressed in black pants and a flannel shirt, minus the face mask, Foley discussed his professional wrestling career, the importance of going after your dreams and the life he is leading now as an author.

Although Foley said he started his career as Cactus Jack when he was 18, he didn’t have his first match until he was 19. Foley said he would leave his college in upstate New York and drive five hours to work setting up the wrestling ring. It was while doing this he met Dominick DeNucci, who was one of the main influences in helping him start his career.

“When the ring was set up before the people got there, he would take me in the ring and twist me like a pretzel,” Foley said. “Once he saw I was serious about learning the proper way, he told me about a school he had in Pittsburgh every weekend.”

Foley said he spent the following year and a half traveling to and from Pittsburgh every weekend to wrestle at the school.

After his portrayal of Cactus Jack, Foley became the sex symbol Dude Love. The character idea was originally thought up by the teenage Foley who was insecure around women and who wanted to be someone ladies flocked around. Not fitting the traditional mold for a chick magnet, however, Foley began his career as Cactus Jack before getting his shot at Dude Love. Foley’s real success came with his role as Mankind.

On April 1, 1996, the mysterious character made his debut. Many watched as Mankind made his way to the ring to the sounds of haunting music. The character Mankind was considered devilish and evil, at least until Foley did a series of personal interviews with Jim Ross. Those interviews allowed Foley to expose a different side of Mankind — a fun side which fans loved.

Sixteen years and the creation of a major superstar later, Foley decided to send his characters into retirement in 2000. Foley now spends his time with his family and polishing his new love — writing. He has penned two autobiographies and two children’s books, and has a new fictional novel entitled “Teitam Brown” scheduled for release this summer. Although writing began as more of a hobby for Foley, he admits that it is now a talent that occupies much of his time in his post-wrestling days.

“I got into it because I honestly thought I could do a better job than the ghost writer they had assigned to me,” Foley said. “When I started writing it seemed like not only did I have a kind of gift for it, but I really enjoyed it also. I had been hard-pressed to find something I liked nearly as much as wrestling throughout my career — then suddenly as my career was fading, this new opportunity came along.”

A long way from his humble beginning in New York, Foley has experienced great victories in the ring, winning the world championships in the WWF and outside by having his four books appear on The New York Times Bestsellers List.

Although these two levels of success may seem different, Foley says he approaches them much the same way.

“I was always a big guy on visualization,” Foley said. “I believed if you were out there and rehearsed it, it would look like a dance.”

Although Foley admits this may sound strange, he said he approaches writing a book the same way.

“I think about it and visualize it until it almost becomes real,” Foley said. “Then it’s just a matter of putting it down on paper as opposed to putting it down on canvas in the ring.”
- The Eastern Progress


Mick Foley was like nothing the world of professional wrestling had seen when he developed his popular "Mankind" character, wearing a bizarre mask and taking some of the most brutal punishment witnessed in a brutally punishing business.

So what could he do to top a Frankenstein-like character that made him one of the biggest draws in the history of the theatre of the squared circle?

Become Ernest Hemingway?

Well, not quite. But Foley's role these days is that of a writer, and it's no put-on. He has written three nonfiction books about his life and times in wrestling, two novels and three children's books. So it's no fluke. Far from it.

His first book -- his autobiography "Have a Nice Day" -- was on the New York Times bestseller list for 26 weeks. And his follow-up to that, "Foley is God," hit that list in its first week.
And his latest work -- a novel called "Scooter," centering on a family's triumphs and struggles in the Bronx, revolving around baseball -- has received a stamp of approval from no less than one of America's greatest writers, Richard Price:

"It turns Ashcan realist and operatic, lurid and heartfelt, sentimental and hard-nosed. Scooter is an absorbing tale of one kid's growth into a young manhood via sports: sports as an instrument of love, of revenge, of celebration and of destruction. It also, most compellingly, offers an athlete's contemplation of pain and the unique brand of salvation that can come of its forbearance."

That's an impressive endorsement for someone who, under the personas of Mankind, Cactus Jack and Dude Love, has a resume that includes 325 stitches, eight concussions, too many broken bones to mention and one ear torn off.

Foley was in Arlington on Thursday signing copies of "Scooter," and such book signings result in the rare meeting of the two worlds -- wrestling and literature -- even when the book in question has nothing to do with wrestling. Almost all of the time, the line of people waiting to get books signed are wrestling fans and not literary buffs.

"At book signings, I always ask, 'Is there anyone here who is not a wrestling fan?' " Foley said. "One young lady raised her hand, and I asked, 'What are you doing here?' She said, 'I really like your writing.' It was a shock. I want people to like my writing, but I accept that at these signings, even someone who likes my writing might not want to venture out in the wild world of wrestling fans."

Foley ventured into the world of writing after he had gotten a look at the beginning of his autobiography -- as written by a ghostwriter.

"It was a pretty frightening moment when I realized that somebody had done a very good job of making my life look very boring," he said. "I just really felt that I might not be able to write any other book, but I can tell this story."

He told it by handwriting 200,000 words on 760 pages of notebook paper in just 50 days.

Where did that come from?

"I wrote growing up," Foley said. "When I look back on what I wrote and some of the comments I got from teachers, I am kind of surprised that I never actually thought of writing as any serious job possibility. Even as late as college [at Cortland State in upstate New York], I had a paper that was rated very well, and the teacher wrote, 'You should seriously consider writing as a career possibility.' I guess I was lucky that I had people in the literary world who said I had a natural storytelling ability. Once you realize that writing is really telling stories on paper, it is much easier to believe you are capable of writing a book."

"Scooter" deals with a young man named after Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto who grew up in the Bronx in the late 1960s and early 1970s amid family turmoil, rage and social change -- with baseball as his salvation.

"One of the themes of the book is whether a life should be judged by years of service and courage or one brief moment of cowardice or shame," Foley said. "I tried to have a central part in each male characters' life where they were tested that way and where the guilt the characters feel hopefully leads them on a path to personal redemption. In Scooter's case, he finds that redemption through baseball."

So is Foley a wrestler, a performer or a writer?

"I think I am somebody who writes," he said. "I don't think it defines who I am. And certainly based on people's reactions to me, it doesn't define to them who I am. I think only one person has ever approached me and said, 'Aren't you the writer?' I think I will have to live with being the wrestler-slash-writer. For a while I tried to fight it, but at a certain point, you just accept it and appreciate it."
- The Washington Times


ST. JAMES, N.Y. — Before Mick Foley became a best-selling author, back when "I was still pretending to beat up people for a living," as he puts it, he liked to visit Civil War battlefields between engagements as a professional wrestler.
Among the most memorable was in Sharpsburg, Md., site of the Battle of Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862, the bloodiest day in American history, even accounting for Sept. 11, 2001.
So when Foley turned to fiction, after two best-selling memoirs, he named the father and son at the heart of his novel Antietam Brown IV (known as Tietam) and Antietam Brown V (known as Andy). They're named in honor of an ancestor, an Irish immigrant, killed at 19 in the Battle of Antietam.
Foley's debut novel, Tietam Brown (Knopf, $23.95), published today, deals with domestic kinds of civil war. It's an often bloody coming-of-age story set mostly in 1985 in Upstate New York. After seven years in reform school, Andy Brown is coping with the horrors of high school, his first love, and a hard-drinking father whose concept of parenting isn't found in any advice book.
The idea of a professional wrestler writing a fairly serious novel may surprise some readers. Foley's most popular previous persona was as a stringy-haired character named Mankind who wore a Hannibal Lecter-like leather mask in the ring and was inspired, he says, by the monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, "a bad guy who deep down isn't bad."
Even more surprising is Foley's publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, one of the most literary of commercial publishers, home to 21 Nobel Prize winners, including Günter Grass and Toni Morrison. In its 88-year history, Knopf has never had an author whose work-related injuries include 325 stitches, eight concussions, three knee surgeries and the loss of two teeth and one ear, suffered in 16 years as a wrestler.
Victoria Wilson, a Knopf editor for 30 years who discovered novelists Anne Rice and Laurie Moore, recalls when literary agent Luke Janklow urged her to read Foley's manuscript.
"The idea seemed ridiculous," she says. She hadn't heard of Foley, despite his popularity as one of the stars of the then-World Wrestling Federation.
And while his agent probably mentioned Foley's two best sellers, Foley Is Good and the Real World Is Faker Than Wrestling and Have a Nice Day! A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, Wilson says, "I didn't pay any attention."
But she did to Foley's fiction. "It needed work," she says, "but I liked his voice. He's a storyteller, and it was a piece of writing with a lot of feeling, and that's what really matters."
Foley remembers Williams' early critiques: "Having come from a world where huge holes in a story line, implausible plot contrivances and completely unrealistic characters were not necessarily considered bad things, I found Vicky's standards awfully tough to live up to."
Williams convinced him that his novel had strayed into "horror-movie territory," and some scenes "were way too convenient. In the first draft, I probably used the word forgiveness 100 times. I was kind of hitting readers over the head with it and not letting readers come to their own conclusions."
He asked his editor: "Can you fix it?"
"No," she replied, "but I can help you fix it."
At 6-foot-4 and nearly 300 pounds, Foley, 38, is a shaggy bear of a family man. He and his wife of 11 years, Collette, a former model, have four children, 11 years old to 14 weeks. Their large modern house on a secluded cul-de-sac on the wealthy North Shore of Long Island, N.Y., is strewn with toys.
A room in the basement is devoted year-round to Christmas decorations. Every year the family goes on a pilgrimage to Santa's Village, a classic amusement park in Jefferson, N.H., that Foley first visited as a kid. In the novel, Tietam Brown stages a live Nativity scene in his front yard. Foley hasn't gone that far, mostly "because no one could find my house."
His style is casual. He dresses for an interview in a T-shirt and sweat pants decorated with a likeness of Winnie the Pooh. He seems delighted by the interruptions by his 2-year-old son, Mick Jr. He pauses occasionally to edit himself and come up with a "more writerly word" for say, "blown away." Then he decides "blown away" will do.
Foley says most of his novel isn't autobiographical, even if it's told in his voice, "or the voice I imagine I would have at 17 if all these bad things had happened to me, which they didn't."
He grew up in a middle-class neighborhood on Long Island. His father was a high school athletic director, who, he says, bears no resemblance to Tietam Brown or the bullying and bigoted high school football coach in the novel.
His mother, an avid reader, inspired his interest in reading and storytelling. The novel is dedicated to her, because she "always thought I could write one of these things."
He says she hasn't commented on it yet, "apparently on the theory if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything. I think it's a bit dark and viole - USA Today


The powerful voices of an energetic crowd chanted "Foley!" to express their love for wrestling star Mick Foley in the Downing University Center auditorium last night.

A large group of students and community members filled the auditorium to hear Foley speak about other wrestlers, fans and even a bit of politics.

Foley is a three-time world heavy weight champ and best-selling author.

He has written several books, including "Foley is Good," which have earned him a spot four different times on the New York Times Best Sellers List.

The spectators did not make up the usual motivational speaker audience.

Shouts, howls and even a few boos flooded the auditorium at various points during Foley's speech.

Camera flashes sparkled the crowd the entire time, giving Foley a movie-star quality.

He was welcomed and sent away with an enthusiastic standing ovation.

Chance Forshee, a Foley fan and Bowling Green sophomore, said he was glad Western decided to bring Foley to speak.

"Everybody knows him," he said. "He's a legend, but he acts like a normal guy."

Forshee said he thinks bringing famous people like Foley to campus will give awareness to Western and bring in the crowds.

The event was organized by the Revolution WWHR 91.7 with the assistance of a professional wrestling and media class from Western.

Revolution station manager Kevin Mercer, a Woodburn sophomore, said the station wanted to bring someone "really cool" who would be of interest to a large number of students.

"We've done everything we can to promote it to get people here," Mercer said. He interviewed Foley on Revolution yesterday afternoon.

Mercer said he was pleased with the turnout.

"The house was packed," he said. "I'm glad it went over so well."

A fellow wrestler and friend of Foley's, Jessie Kresa from Nashville, made the trip to see her friend.

"He's hilarious," she said. "The road stories are the best."

Foley used a combination of seriousness with comedy to keep the audience's attention.

"I'm under some kind of pressure to say something moderately educational," Foley said, just before he told a story about how wrestling is wrongly profiled.

A study was conducted by researchers at Indiana University indicating that wrestling contains an excessive amount of unnecessary acts such as using items as weapons, using profanity and giving the middle finger.

Foley said he didn't believe the results were accurate, so he researched the issue himself and ended up changing some of the views of the original researchers.

"It's an indication of how low wrestling is on the totem pole and how little research the media does before drawing a conclusion," he said.

Foley held a question and answer session in the middle of his set that had to be cut short because there were too many fans eager to pick his brain.

Everyone had the opportunity to meet Foley afterward for an autograph signing and picture.

Horse Branch sophomore Timothy Morris was one of the fans who was willing to stand in the long line to meet the celebrity.

Morris described Foley as an amazing speaker and human being.

"He's a great guy," he said.

The crowd reaction was positive, and Foley said he was impressed with the turnout.

"The fact that you guys want to come see me is pretty inspiring," Foley said.
- The Collegiate Heights Herald


Discography

None

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Michael Francis Foley was born on East Setauket, Long Island, N.Y., the son of an athletic director and a teacher who became a full-time mom. Upon graduating from Ward Melville High School, Foley enrolled at the State University of New York at Cortland in upstate New York.

A lifelong wrestling fan who once hitchhiked to Madison Square Garden to see Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka take on Don Muraco in a steel cage, the seeds of his future career were planted while he was a college student. In September 1985, Foley met former World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Champion Dominic DeNucci through a Long Island wrestling promoter. Still in college, Foley, in early 1986, began driving 400 miles from Cortland to Freedom, PA, each weekend to train at DeNucci's school. After months of training and working in independent promotions (where he competed as Cactus Jack), Foley got the opportunity to work at a few World Wrestling Federation television tapings—and to be squashed by well-known Federation superstars, including the British Bulldog.

He wrestled under his real name and was what can politely be called an "enhancement talent." For fear that he would become a full-time jobber, Foley began declining invitations to attend TV tapings when fans started recognizing him. In the summer of 1990, Foley was handing out flyers for an upcoming independent show he would be wrestling in on Long Island when he met a beautiful model named Colette Christie. It was the woman he would go on to marry.

Over the years, Foley competed as Cactus Jack all over the world—mainly in Africa and Japan—and also in WCW and ECW. In 1996, the day after WrestleMania XII, he made his debut in the Federation as Mankind. Since then, he's been Mankind, Dude Love, and Cactus Jack. On February 27, 2000, the career of the "Three Faces of Foley" came to an end when Foley, as Cactus Jack, put his career on the line for a chance at the main event at "WrestleMania." When Triple H pinned Cactus after a brutal Hell in a Cell bout, Cactus left the Federation forever, as did Mankind and Dude Love.

However, on the March 20, 2000, edition of "RAW IS WAR," Linda McMahon proved that dreams do come true in the World Wrestling Federation. Linda turned what was supposed to be a Triple Threat main event at WrestleMania into a Fatal Four-Way, and the fourth participant was Foley! This time, for one night only, Foley competed as himself. Unfortunately, he was pinned after two brutal Pedigrees by Triple H. But Foley was able to accomplish his dream of main-eventing the biggest show of the year. Foley's career as an active wrestler ended on April 2, 2000, in Anaheim, California.

Whatever the persona, Foley is one of the most respected competitors in the history of sports-entertainment. He has the reputation for enduring more pain than anyone. His maniacal personality is not just on display in the ring. Consider that he wrote his own autobiography—but since he doesn't own a computer or even a typewriter, he filled up 760 pages of notebook paper writing freehand!

The book, Have a Nice Day which showcased Foley's irreverent sense of humor and natural storytelling ability shocked the literary world by hitting number-one on the New York Times Bestseller List in December 1999, and by staying on the list for twenty-six weeks. The sequel, Foley is Good shot to number-one on the Times list in its very first week of publication. He has also written two New York Times best-selling children's books, Mick Foley's Christmas Chaos and Mick Foley's Halloween High Jinx. In July 2003, Foley released his debut novel, Tietam Brown.

Foley was featured in the critically acclaimed motion picture Beyond the Mat, and has appeared on dozens of television shows, including, Good Morning America, Larry King, 20/20, World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Live with Regis and Kelly, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Katie Couric has also interviewed him . . . twice.