Arts & Entertainment

The Sheik’ Was a WWII Army Veteran Who Revolutionized Pro Wrestling

Ed Farhat The Sheik
Here’s the earliest known photo of WWII Army veteran Ed Farhat as he embarked on his professional career. Someone later added Farhat’s trademark beard with a sharpie. (Image courtesy: Dave Burzynski)

Edward Farhat lived the American Dream. The 10th of 11 children born to Lebanese immigrants in East Lansing, Michigan, Farhat grew up to serve in World War II and reinvent himself as “The Sheik,” one of the greatest performers in professional wrestling history.

If you want to know the complete, epic tale of Farhat’s life and career, Brian R. Solomon’s book “Blood and Fire: the Unbelievable Real-Life Story of Wrestling’s Original Sheik” has all the details. We’re going to focus on The Sheik’s Army service and explain just how he elevated pro wrestling to the art form it became after the war.

Four of Farhat’s older brothers were already serving when Farhat supposedly borrowed his older brother Edmund’s birth certificate to enlist in the Marine Corps while still underage. That attempt failed, but Farhat was drafted into the U.S. Army in August 1944 two months after his 18th birthday.


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