Benny McGuire dead at
OLIVER -- SLAM! Wrestling
Benny McGuire, half of the famous giant McGuire
twins, died Monday of heart failure in Hendersonville, N.C. at 54.
Benny and Billy, whose real last name was McCrary, at 814 pounds and 784
pounds in the Guinness Book of World Records, are most widely recognized
in a famous photograph of them on motorcycles. It was taken as they rode
across country for a Honda promotion.
In the 1970s, the twins traveled around the world as tag team partners.
They called themselves the McGuire twins because announcers in foreign
countries had difficulty pronouncing McCrary. They appeared several times
on 'The Tonight Show.'
In an interview with Scott Teal's
Happened to ...? publication a while back Benny McGuire talked about
the cross-country promotion. "We worked out a deal with Honda Motorcycle
Company and rode mini-bikes from New York to L.A. Three thousand miles. We
rode a hundred miles a day and it took us thirty days. I also had a deal
worked out with Holiday Inn where we'd stay at night, and we'd ride into
town and give autographs at a dealership for a couple hours."
During the cross-country trip, they stopped in El Paso, Texas and went to
the wrestling matches. Gory Guerrero approached them about wrestling.
"Gory Guerrero came up to me and Billy and thought we were gonna wrestle.
We said, 'No. We sure love rasslin', and we've done a lot of rasslin'
between each other, but we'd be interested in gettin' into it.' He said,
'Go ahead and finish your engagement for Honda. When you come back through
El Paso, stop by and see me.' We did ... and he trained us."
Eddie Guerrero, Gory's son, was one of the youngsters watching the twins
learn the mat game in Juarez, Mexico. Gory Guerrero worked out a routine
for the McGuires where they didn't take bumps like regular wrestlers,
instead other wrestlers would run at them and fall down.
||July 14, 1979 - Billy
McCrary --- View the Gravesite below
Discovered by a photographer from Life magazine,
Billy and Benny McCrary were the world's heaviest twins, at 743 and 723
pounds with 84 inch waists. They went for show biz with their newly found
notoriety and appeared in Vegas where they played trumpets and told jokes
with 400-pound go-go dancers. Then they made a splash on the sporting
scene as tag team wrestlers and mini-bike riders doing daredevil stunts in
cowboy outfits. Sensing too much of a good thing, Billy died of injuries
after a mini-bike stunt gone wrong in Niagara Falls. In mourning, Benny
erected the world's largest granite gravestone (yet another superlative),
13 feet wide and weighing three tons, etched with their beloved
mini-bikes, on view today in The Cemetery at Crab Creek Baptist Church
outside Hendersonville, North Carolina. Benny himself died of heart
failure in March of 2001, at the age of 54.
View Enlargement below
Benny remembered that Gory took the training
seriously. "Gory wanted to make it strictly rasslin'. We didn't wave our
butts and wave them at people, like the other heavy guys did. We had some
high spots, though. I'd get 'em in the corner and Billy would run in
against me. The steamroller ... we'd get 'em down and just roll up and
down 'em. That was one of our finishing moves. And the big splash ...
that's what blew my knees out. I did the move most of the time, then Billy
would come sit on top of me. I've had wrestlers poo-poo in their pants
from the weight. (laughs)"
They trained about two months in Mexico and began
wrestling there, often in bullrings. From there, they went to work with
Dory Funk Sr. in Amarillo, Texas. Later, they worked for Leroy McGuirk in
Oklahoma City and in Nashville. After that, they were pretty seasoned and
hit the road.
In Japan, they switched from being the McCrary Twins to the McGuire Twins.
"The announcers would have trouble with it. They would pronounce it Queary
and we'd say, 'We ain't no queers.' We changed it to the McGuires. Nick
Gulas come up with the idea, by the way. He said, 'The McGuire Sisters
done good. Let's see how the McGuire Twins do.' That stuck with us."
After Billy died in 1979, Benny teamed up with other wrestlers, including
Andre the Giant, before retiring from the sport. He later bought a pawn
shop in Hendersonville, where he worked as an auctioneer.
In 1998, McCrary moved with his wife Tammie to Walkertown and began
working for the Christian Golfers Ministry at the Pine Knolls Golf Course.
In a 1998 interview with Inside Wrestling magazine, McCrary said he and
his brother began gaining weight when they were 4 years old after their
pituitary glands were damaged by German measles.
"That's why our parents bought the farm,'' he said. ``They said 'Maybe
they'll burn the calories up working on the farm.'''
The twins weighed 200 pounds each by age 10 and had topped 600 pounds by
age 16. The McCrary brothers grew up in Hendersonville, but dropped out of
East Henderson High School to travel to Texas, where they worked branding
McCrary is survived by his mother, Virginia McKinnish McCrary, and a
grandmother, Mary McCrary.