Ivan was born the 25th day of August 1942. and raised on a dairy farm in Canada. He came from a family of seven boys and three girls with Ivan being a middle child. After watching wrestling on TV since eight years old, Ivan so wanted to become a professional wrestler that he wrestled with his chores on the dairy farm, dreaming of the day he would make his dream come true. Ivan not only wrestled with chores but also wrestled his brothers. Upon leaving school at 17 years old, Ivan finally made it to Jack Wentworth's wrestling school in Hamilton, Ontario. After a year of training - weightlifting and learning all the holds - Ivan became Red McNulty, an Irish rogue, who hailed from Dublin, Ireland wearing a patch over his eye and wrestled as a heel. He soon got his debut match which was against Bruno Sammartino "The Living Legend" on TV in Pittsburgh, Pa. For the next three years Ivan wrestled around the Toronto area, eventually quitting his regular job to wrestle in the Northwest area. Ivan there acquired his wrestling experience and got his first trip to Japan. In 1967, Ivan Koloff, the Russian Bear was born and debuted in Montreal Canada becoming the Canadian Heavyweight Champion.
The next 31 years consisted of traveling to Europe, Japan, Australia, West Indies, and Puerto Rico, as well as the United States. Ivan won many titles and made his biggest dream come true.
Ivan lived in Greenville, NC with his wife, Renae, and had four adult children. He remained active in various charities until his death in February 2017.(he was always known away from the ring as a nice easygoing person despite his vicious bad guy image).
Ivan became a born again Christian in 1995 and traveled to churches to share his testimony in hopes of saving others from a lifetime of destruction from sin such as alcohol and drugs.
The History and Titles Of Ivan Koloff "The Russian Bear":
Born in 1942. Raised in Canada, began wrestling in 1960, part time until 1966, then full time.
1968-1969 Canadian Heavyweight Champion in Montreal
1970 World Wide Wrestling Federation And Ten Week Tour Of Australia
1971 World Wide Wrestling Federation Champion (WWWF)
1972-1973 American Wrestling Association-Minneapolis, Minnesota / Japan
1974 National Wrestling Alliance
1975 International Wrestling Alliance
1975 Two Tours Of Japan
1976-1977 Florida Tag Team Champion
1978-1979 Georgia Tag Team Champion
1980-1981 National Wrestling Alliance, World Wide Wrestling Federation, Tour Of Japan
1982 Florida And Tour Of Japan
1983 World Wide Wrestling Federation And Georgia
1984-1988 Tour Of Japan, NWA Tag Team Champion
1989 NWA With Ted Turner, Six Man World Tag Team Champion
1990-1991 Independent Agent, Tour Of Japan
Dutch West Indies, Philippines, Puerto Rico
1994-2017 Ivan resides in Greenville, NC with his wife, Renae.
On February 18, 2017 Ivan passed away and is now residing in heaven. He always ended every
prayer with, "I love You Jesus." Now, Ivan can tell Him face to face.
He was involved in doing charity work for;
"CMN", (Children’s Miracle Network),
St. Jude's Children's Hospital,
March of Dimes
Toys for Tots.
Ivan made various appearances at;
Independent wrestling matches
Churches, prisons, youth meetings, etc….
Sharing his personal testimony of Salvation and the many years of struggling with drugs
and alcohol and explaining about times when he could have been killed and God spared his life....