At 5 ft 9 in and 215 pounds (little guy who hipsters would love), Wagner was not particularly physically imposing by professional wrestling standards, nor was he an exceptionally gifted athlete, althou( gh he was a gifted amateur wrestler. Nevertheless, he soon developed a reputation as a solid in-ring wrestler. In the late 1930s, he met Elizabeth "Betty" Hanson, whom he would later marry in an in-ring ceremony. When the wedding proved a good drawing card, the couple re-enacted it in arenas across the country enlightening Wagner to the potential entertainment value that was left untapped within the industry. Around this same time, Vanity Fair magazine published a feature article about a professional wrestler named 'Lord' Patrick Lansdowne, who entered the ring accompanied by two valets while wearing a velvet robe and doublet. Wagner was impressed with the bravado of such a character, but he believed that he could take it to a much greater extreme. What he needed was a new professional persona. (Stole his gimmick like Hogan)
Later, in Portland, Oregon, Betty (George's wife) told Dean Higinbotham, the nephew of Betty's sister, Evangeline "Eva", how Wagner gained the name Gorgeous George. In the early 1940s, George had a wrestling match at the Portland Oregon Armory. As he walked down the aisle to the ring, there were two mature women on his right, two rows back from the ring. One of the women loudly exclaimed, "Oh, isn't he gorgeous." The word "gorgeous" struck George and he immediately felt he had found his new professional persona. He would be "Gorgeous George". As Elsie Hanson, Betty's mother, was a skilled seamstress, George asked her to make him some resplendent capes that would accentuate his new persona. Wagner wore those capes in all his future matches. (Ric Flair Robes!)
Subsequently, Wagner debuted his new "glamour boy" (NATURE BOY)image on a 1941 card in Eugene, Oregon; and he quickly antagonized the fans with his exaggerated effeminate behavior when the ring announcer introduced him as "Gorgeous George". Such showmanship was unheard of at the time; and consequently, arena crowds grew in size as fans turned out to ridicule Wagner (who relished the sudden attention).
Gorgeous George was soon recruited to Los Angeles by promoter Johnny Doyle. Known as the "Human Orchid", his persona was created in part by growing his hair long, dyeing it platinum blonde, and putting gold-plated bobby pins in it (which he called "Georgie Pins" and distributed to the audience). Furthermore, he transformed his ring entrance into a bona-fide spectacle that would often take up more time than his actual matches. He strolled nobly to the ring to the sounds of "Pomp and Circumstance", followed by his valet and a purple spotlight. Wearing an elegant robe sporting an array of sequins, (Macho Man/Ric Flair etc) Gorgeous George was always escorted down a personal red carpet by his ring valet "Jeffries"(VIRGIL), who would carry a silver mirror while spreading rose petals at his feet. While Wagner removed his robe, Jeffries would spray the ring with disinfectant, ostensibly Chanel No. 5 perfume, which Wagner referred to as "Chanel #10" (The Model Rick Martel) ("Why be half-safe?" he was famous for saying) before he would start wrestling. Moreover, George required that his valets spray the referee's hands before the official was allowed to check him for any illegal objects, which thus prompted his now-famous outcry "Get your filthy hands off me!" Once the match finally began, he would cheat in every way he could. Gorgeous George was the industry's first true cowardly villain, and he would cheat at every opportunity, which infuriated the crowd. His credo was "Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat!" This flamboyant image and his showman's ability to work a crowd were so successful in the early days of televisionthat he became the most famous wrestler of his time, drawing furious heel heat wherever he appeared.
It was with the advent of television, however, that Wagner's on-ring character became the biggest drawing card the industry had ever known. With the networks looking for cheap, effective programming to fill its time slots, pro wrestling's glorified action became a genuine hit with the viewing public, as it was the first program of any kind to draw a real profit. Consequently, it was Gorgeous George who brought the sport into the nation's living rooms, as his histrionics and melodramatic behavior made him a larger-than-life figure in American pop-culture. His first television appearance took place on November 11, 1947 (an event that was recently named among the top 100 televised acts of the 20th century by Entertainment Weekly) and he immediately became a national celebrity at the same level of Lucille Balland Bob Hope (who personally donated hundreds of chic robes for George's collection) while changing the course of the industry. No longer was pro-wrestling simply about the in-ring action, but Wagner had created a new sense of theatrics and character performance that had not previously existed. Moreover, in a very real sense, it was Gorgeous George who single-handedly established television as a viable entertainment medium that could potentially reach millions of homes across the country. It is said that George was probably responsible for selling as many television receivers as Milton Berle.
yeah LOL at that guy being on Mount Rushmore