Today is the birthday of Owen Hart. If he was still with us, he would have been 50.
On May 23, 1999 at the Over the Edge pay-per-view, Owen was set to descend from the rafters as part of his elaborate Blue Blazer entrance. Tragically, the release on his harness was somehow triggered during his descent, causing him to fall nearly 80 feet onto the ring ropes. He was transported to a nearby hospital where he would pass away from his injuries.
It sometimes seems like the way Owen’s life ended has completely eclipsed what came before. Because of this, the above paragraph will be the only time we discuss the specifics of Owen Hart’s death in this article. Instead, we’ll be focusing on Owen’s life and legacy. I won’t call it a celebration; Owen had his ups, downs and struggles just like everybody else, but it will be a look at a side of Owen Hart too often overlooked. Here are a few things you might not know about life of the Hart family’s high flyer…
1. Owen didn’t want to be a pro wrestler. In 1965, Owen would become the final addition to Stu and Helen Hart’s sprawling family. The youngest of 12 kids, Owen would grow up surrounded by his dad’s wrestling friends. His bedroom was located mere feet above the infamous Hart Dungeon, the barely renovated basement where countless wrestlers were stretched to their breaking points. You’d think having André the Giant as an occasional babysitter would instill a burning desire to become a pro wrestler, but it actually had the opposite effect on young Owen. Many of the wrestlers his dad hung around with, like the terrifying Abdullah the Butcher, freaked out poor Owen, and the constant screams of agony coming from the basement didn’t help matters. Little Owen wanted no part of the wrestling business, and his mind didn’t really change as he got older. He respected what his dad and brothers did, but he had no particular interest in pursuing it himself.
Baby Owen and his posse. Blue shirt in the back is Bret (I think).
Once Owen graduated high school, his plans were to become a teacher, and he worked odd jobs in the oil and gas industry. After temporarily quitting the WWF in 1989, Owen would make a serious run at becoming a firefighter and a border patrol guard.