CCAC to Offer Class on Life and Career of Bruno Sammartino
The Community College of Allegheny County will offer a two-part class about the longest reigning professional wrestling champion in the nation. The Extraordinary Life of Pittsburgh’s Living Legend – Bruno Sammartino will be held at CCAC North Campus on April 19 and 26 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sammartino, who resides in Ross Township, is likely to make an appearance at the second class.
Teaching the class will be Christopher Cruise, a reporter at Voice of America (VOA) and Westwood One. Cruise is a former World Championship Wrestling announcer and has known Sammartino for more than 30 years. The class will combine aspects of Sammartino’s history along with the history of Pittsburgh and the U.S. The professional wrestler’s story is also a story of immigrants seeking a better life and what they meant to the region and the nation in the last century.
Born in Italy in 1935, Sammartino was a young boy when his family hid from German soldiers in the mountains outside their occupied village during World War II. Having barely survived, Sammartino emigrated to the U.S. in 1950, not knowing a word of English and weighing only 84 pounds. Nine years later, he bench-pressed 565 pounds, making him the strongest man in the world. He held the World Wide Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship title for more than 11 years across two reigns. Along with Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, Sammartino was among the highest-paid athletes in the U.S. in the 1960s, according to Sports Illustrated.
Through multi-media presentations, students will learn about Sammartino’s life from his birth to today, including his time hiding from the Nazis, his 4,040 days as the world heavyweight champion and his induction into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame.
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