What Happened To The Real Kevin Von Erich?

Few of us are strangers to loss, although some are more acquainted than others. Watching a loved one die is hard enough — but two times, three times, four, five, or six? This is exactly what happened to former professional wrestler Kevin Von Erich, aka the Golden Warrior. He is the last of an entire family of wrestlers, including four brothers who followed their father into the sport. As D Magazine quotes Von Erich, "We were going to go into wrestling because we wanted to be just like our dad." And one by one, those boys fell.

David Von Erich died while touring in 1984 at age 25 from acute inflammation of the small intestine. Mike died in 1987 at age 23 from a drug overdose that was considered a suicide. In 1991 Chris shot himself in the head at age 21, and in 1993 Kerry did the same. Their father, Fritz, died in 1997 from cancer. He'd also seen his first son, Jack, Jr., die at age 6 from an accidental electrocution and drowning. Fritz has passed along to his sons not only a love for physical activity but a signature wrestling move called the "Iron Claw." Some think he also passed along the Von Erich family curse. 

After watching his entire family die, Kevin Von Erich vanished from public life. He got married, moved to Hawaii, and had four children of his own. The two boys – Marshall and Ross Von Erich, are also wrestlers. Kevin and his family recently moved back to the Von Erich's home state, Texas, per the Dallas Morning News. Now, Zac Efron is playing him in the upcoming 2023 biopic, "Iron Claw." 

Hawaii, his place for a season

As Dallas Morning News outlines, Kevin Von Erich the Golden Warrior retired from professional wrestling in 1993. He'd been a wrestler with World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) at a time when the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment — the WWE) was just coming into its own. Von Erich and other standout athletes helped change wrestling from "an old man sport" into what it is today, as Von Erich put it on San Antonio Express-News. As a standout wrestler amongst siblings with a signature barefoot style, he won a litany of championships with the WCCW, the New Wrestling Alliance, and more, per The Smackdown Hotel.

Dallas Morning News says that Von Erich made appearances at shows from 1995 to 2017, although not to engage in official matches. Von Erich launched his career in Texas and grew up in Dallas, but moved to Hawaii in 2006 with his wife, Pamela Adkisson, to build a house on the North Shore of Kauai near Mt. Namahana. They not only raised their family there, but maintained an entire, seven-acre ranch complete with chickens, goats, ducks, and fruit like guavas, papaya, and coconuts. And yet, as Dallas Morning News reported, Von Erich recently moved to Boerne, Texas in 2023, a short drive northwest of San Antonio. He said of Hawaii, "It was great for me at my season — my season that I needed this ocean. But it's not necessarily the right place for children."  

Back in the public eye

In 2009 Kevin Von Erich made an appearance at his entire family's WWE Hall of Fame Induction. Looking more slender than his Herculean wrestling days, but no less fit and clear of mind, Von Erich said of his fellow wrestlers during his acceptance speech (on YouTube), "They treated me like a brother. It looked like I was out of brothers, but no, I wasn't." Years later on September 2, 2023, at the Majestic Theater in Dallas, Von Erich showed up for a one-night, one-man show, "An Evening with Kevin Von Erich: Stories From the Top Rope." The show dovetailed nicely with the Von Erich family's upcoming Zac Efron-led biopic, "Iron Claw." 

On the family side of things, Von Erich and his wife have raised a family of four children. As previously mentioned, he has two professional wrestler sons, Marshall and Ross Von Erich, and two daughters, Kristen and Jillian. By all accounts, the family is extremely close-knit and also works together on the business side of life. The WWE explains that Von Erich's daughter Kristen manages his professional forays, while Jill took care of the family's recent Boerne, Texas home purchase. Marshall and Ross, meanwhile, are a tag team duo that Post Wrestling says are the most successful in the history of Major League Wrestling (MLW). Most recently, Von Erich has shown up at "Iron Claw" events and premieres with glowing words to say about the project, as we can see in interviews like that on YouTube.