Special thanks to Gregbo Watson at






One of the most colorful performers to ever step foot in Jim Crockett Promotions was ‘Gorgeous’ Jimmy Garvin. With his infectious smile and energetic strut, Jimmy was the consummate entertainer while also being an accomplished wrestler and stellar athlete. In the mid to late 1980s, Jimmy and his lovely valet ‘Precious’ were a fixture in a Jim Crockett Promotions that by that point had burst out of the old Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling regional territory.

Seeing the fast-paced and excitable ‘Gorgeous’ Jimmy Garvin of the late 1980s, it’s hard to imagine that he was the same wrestler that performed in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in 1977 and 1978 as just plain ‘Jim Garvin.’ Without a gimmick then, the Jim Garvin of 1978 was wrestling in one of his first stints as an in-ring performer in the business. But the valuable experience he learned from such Mid-Atlantic veterans as Johnny Weaver would help Garvin grow and mature…and big things were very shortly on the horizon for Jimmy.


Jimmy Garvin entertained wrestling fans for 23 years in a career that was cutting edge in many respects. He was a big part of the huge wrestling phenomenon in Texas in the early 80s, and his ‘Gorgeous’ gimmick with Precious contributed to a changing and evolution of professional wrestling that we still see evidence of today. Jimmy was ultra creative and forward thinking about the business, and in many ways was very much ahead of his time.


In this encompassing interview, Jimmy tells us about his start in the business, and the many years of paying his dues in the old territorial system, with many of the early years being as a manager. Jimmy talks about the explosion of wrestling in Texas, and of course about his stints in Jim Crockett Promotions. Jimmy gives us his candid opinions on many of the biggest names in the wrestling business, including his stepfather Ronnie Garvin.


Many thanks to my website partner Dick Bourne for all of his help with this interview. And special thanks to Jimmy Garvin for a truly entertaining and informative 90 minute chat about his illustrious career and professional wrestling in general. Jimmy has a terrific website at; please visit it and check out his “Behind The Scenes At The Bash” DVD, which is a rare treasure of backstage footage that Jimmy shot himself!


Jimmy…you kept me smiling on the phone, just like you and Precious always did during your wrestling days. Thanks for bringing all those great wrestling memories back up to the surface…after talking with you, they now seem more vivid than ever!


Presently, Jimmy works as a pilot for a living. So everybody, fasten your safety belts, we’re about ready for takeoff. And it’s going to be some flight on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway…with none other than Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin in the cockpit! Enjoy!


- David Chappell

David Chappell : Jimmy, it’s great to have you in the Mid-Atlantic Gateway tonight.


Jim my Garvin : All right man…I’m with you. We can talk about anything you want to talk about. You guys at the Gateway have a really great reputation…you’ve established that. You have a great website.


Chappell: Thank you, Jimmy… Dick Bourne and I really appreciate that.


Garvin: Where do you want to start?


Chappell: Well, some folks might be surprised that you actually broke into wrestling during the 1960s, and that you were a manager for a long time during your earlier career.


Garvin: Yeah, November 1st, 1969. This was out in Arizona, and I managed Terry (Garvin) for Ernie Mohammed.


I had no idea what I was doing…I was green as could be. I was trying to get experience. Back then, one of the best ways to get experience was to do that…to manage.


Chappell: Getting your foot in the door, so to speak.


Garvin: Right. Another way was to referee. You know…to do something around the business other than get in the ring and wrestle.


Plus, my size was a problem then. I was only 17 years old, and I really wasn’t that big. I never was really that big anyway in my career, but I was really little then. I was just a kid then, you know?


Chappell: You actually started as a manager, but what got you interested in wrestling in the first place?


Garvin: Well…that’s a very good question David . And, of course, I have a very good answer! (laughs)


Chappell: (laughing) I would expect nothing less from you!


Garvin: (laughing) I started when I was nine years old…


Chappell: You mean your interest in wrestling?


Garvin: What happened was, my family…my Dad, had a small little apartment house in Tampa, Florida. And Joe Scarpa…


Chappell: Who many people may know better as Chief Jay Strongbow…


Garvin: Yeah, before he was Chief Jay Strongbow he was Joe Scarpa. This was back in around 1961. In Tampa then, you had a lot of great guys…Scarpa, Don Curtis, Hiro Matsuda, the Great Malenko.


The Great Malenko, Joe Scarpa and them stayed at my parent’s apartment house. Of course I was there, and one day Joe Scarpa saw me hangin’ around and said, ‘Hey, why don’t you come down and try out?’


Chappell: Who would you have been trying out with?


Garvin: Eddie Graham had kind of a little wrestling school…like a Club for young kids. Joe told me to try out and see how I’d do.


Chappell: So, you took the plunge?


Garvin: I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do that!’ So I went down there, and tried out and did pretty good. I knew nothing about wrestling, until Joe Scarpa took me down there and put me in the ring.


Gordon Solie was down there…Gordon Solie did my first interview---when I was nine years old!


Chappell: Are you serious?


Garvin: (laughs) Yeah! Eddie Graham had a segment on his show at the time, that paid attention to the Club that he had formed. And of course Mike Graham was there…he was just a kid. Dick Slater, I think, finally came around there. Bob Orton, Jr., through the years, came through there as a kid. 


Chappell: Jimmy, I’d love to see a tape of your first interview at the ripe ol’ age of nine!


Garvin: (laughs) I’m sure Mike (Graham) still has it! Yeah, Gordon interviewed me several times when I was a kid.


Chappell: It sounds like wrestling got in your blood at a VERY early age?


Garvin: I got really into it. Joe Scarpa trained me all the time. I was brought up in west Tampa, which was kinda a rough part of town. I mean, it wasn’t that bad, but it was sorta a rough part of town.


They used to spread U-Haul mats out in a grassy field that was next to this apartment complex. And what would happen, every Saturday, is my Dad would pay the neighborhood kids 25 cents each to come and work out with me on these U-Haul mats. This went on for a couple of years, to the point that he built a little shed with a ring in there. By little shed, I mean they could seat 40-50 people with the ring in there. 


Chappell: Were the kids still coming in?


Garvin: Yes, on Saturday mornings they would come in and line up around this field and they would come in and work out with me for 25 cents. If they beat me, my Dad would pay them 50 cents!


Chappell: (laughing)


Garvin: My Dad only had to pay out 50 cents one time! That was pretty incredible, with all the kids that came in there…it just happened that one time.


Chappell: Yes, that is incredible…over that amount of time!


Garvin: So, amateur wrestling…I have a real strong background in it.


Chappell: And I don’t think a lot of fans really thought the flamboyant ‘Gorgeous' Jimmy Garvin had such a background.


Garvin: Yeah, it’s really extensive. I went for the Florida state title…where I suffered a compound fracture of my left elbow, and broke that real bad. I would have won the Florida state title if it wasn’t for that.


Chappell: Some real tough luck there.


Garvin: Eddie Graham drove me to that Tournament. It was in Jacksonville, and I compound fractured it at the Air Force base up there. The bone was driven right through the elbow and the skin…


Chappell: Ouch…double ouch!


Garvin: And because my parents weren’t there, they couldn’t do anything for me. They just had to wrap me up, and Eddie Graham drove me back to Tampa…


Chappell: Man, that’s gruesome Jimmy. Something like that toughened you up pretty quickly I’m sure.


Garvin: Oh man! They put a pin in it, and that was in there for a while.


Chappell: How did you develop after that setback?


Garvin: Later on, my Dad, who was a policeman with the Tampa Police Department, passed away when I was 12. I kinda cut out on my own from there.


I was the oldest of four children…the oldest boy. You know, I just kinda did my own thing.


Chappell: Didn’t you meet your wife Patti at a very young age? A lot of wrestling fans know Patti as ‘Precious.’


Garvin: I met her when I was 16, and she was 14. David …we were just kids.


Chappell: Yeah…and you all are still together today, 35 years later!


Garvin: We are! She, of course, was from Canada.


But needless to say, my Mom ended up marrying Ronnie (Garvin) about two or three years after my Dad died.


Chappell: Jimmy, I think a lot of people would be interested in hearing about your relationship, your real relationship, with Ronnie.


Garvin: Yeah…and I’ll tell it to you too.


The fact is, that I was devastated from my Dad’s death when I was 12…and then I had Ronnie come into the picture two or three years later.


You know, wrestling was in my blood from the time I was nine. So, it just so happened that my Mom gets up with Ronnie. We ended up going up to Canada in the summertime to go fishing…like in 1968 or something. Then she gets married to Ronnie, and all that.


Chappell: So, with this time line you’re giving us, it doesn’t sound like Ronnie was the one that got you into wrestling?


Garvin: Terry and Ronnie were tag team partners down in Tampa. That’s when I met Terry. Ronnie had nothing to do with me breaking in the business.


Chappell: I think a lot of people probably think Ronnie played a role in your breaking in.


Garvin: No, he had absolutely nothing to do with that.


(laughs) To be honest with you, we never really got along that well. You know, we did…but we didn’t.


Chappell: I’ve heard from people in the business that even though you both now live in Charlotte, you all don’t have any interaction with each other. Is that true?


Garvin: We don’t talk. No…we do not talk. And I’m not sure…but I think maybe a psychologist or a psychiatrist might be able to work it out! (laughs)


Ronnie is such a strong-headed individual…and he’s French anyway---but I won’t hold that against him! (laughs)


Chappell: (laughing)


Garvin: Ronnie’s a character. When he met my Mom, hell, he was only 22 years old or something, you know? Let’s put it this way…he’s eight years older than I am. I don’t know, [the age] probably didn’t have a lot to do with it…but, I mean, I just never got along with him.


Chappell: That’s pretty much been the case throughout?


Garvin: Ever since we’ve met, yeah.


Chappell: Not outright warfare between you two…you just don’t have anything to do with each other?


Garvin: Yeah…we have nothing in common. He doesn’t call me, and I don’t call him. He will probably never call me, and I’ll probably never call him. When we happen to see each other, we do talk…but it’s very brief.


David …there’s just nothing there. I don’t even know how to explain it. I never really thought of him as a stepfather…


Chappell: That’s becoming pretty clear!


Garvin: I left home when I was, hell…16 years old. From 12-14 my Mom hadn’t met him yet. So I met him when I was about 15. So, it only took me about two years to figure out that this ain’t gonna work. You know…I just couldn’t be around---I had to go.


I was a kid then, and so was he…you know?


Chappell: That slight age difference between you all probably didn’t help matters.


Garvin: There’s no open hostility between us…we just have nothing in common.


Chappell: I thought Ronnie was a pilot…like you are.


Garvin: I think he’s quit now, because his company went out of business. I think he’s quit flying all together now.


In fact, I was the one that got him started flying. Of course, he’d never admit to that…


Chappell: (laughing)


Garvin: I was the first one to start flying, and then he started flying after me and I kind of prompted him along.


We were always competitive. He always thought that he was the better pilot. And me, I was never that competitive of a guy anyway, really…I could care less about that stuff.


Chappell: Ronnie always came off looking that way to me…very competitive.


Garvin: He’s a little more aggressive than I am. Actually, he’s probably a lot more aggressive than I am!


But needless to say, he and I never really hit it off. Nothing disrespectful to him, but I preferred to go live on my own and leave home…than to live under him.