Just in the last few days, new detailed information about wrestler "Magnificent Maurice"
Gene DuBuque has been located that is not commonly known or available on the Internet
(as of December 23, 2010). Recently, two friends of mine, John Pantozzi and Fred
Hornby, inquired openly about the fate of DuBuque, as no one had a clear picture of
what happened to him. Somewhere along the line, it was rumored that he died in a plane
crash, but again, there was no solid information explaining what had occurred.
I began to dig around, following the genealogical side of DuBuque's life. His family was
found in the 1930 U.S. Census as living on 53rd street in Brooklyn. His father, Earl,
worked in the Navy Yard, and his mother Eugenia was from Russia. Eugene Earl
DuBuque was born on December 11, 1927, however, the census taker apparently got
their information mixed up, and listed young Eugene as being only two months old. By
the mid-to-late 1940s, DuBuque became an amateur bodybuilder, winning the 1947 Mr.
New York City contest, and turned to professional wrestling sometime in the in the
1949-'50 time-frame. He was originally booked on the New York City circuit, then
ventured out to Chicago, Texas, and California.
Adopting the "Magnificent Maurice" persona, he flaunted a heel personality that drew
heat and gained success as a regional champion in several territories.
He shows up in Denver as late as 1970, and, according some sources, he began to focus
on a career in Hollywood. But he then disappears, and the websites that are mentioned
above list his date of death, across the board, as occurring in January 1974.
That date of death is incorrect. Gene DuBuque did go to Hollywood and was hired by
Wolper Productions, run by David Wolper, to perform the part of a prehistoric man in the
ABC-TV documentary "Primal Man." A crew went out to the Mammoth Lakes area in the
Inyo National Forest (Inyo County, California) to film, and on March 13, 1974, they were
set to return to Burbank. Their Sierra Pacific plane, Convair 440, was chartered by the
company, and took off from Bishop Airport carrying 31 members of the production crew
and 5 airplane staff. Five minutes later, the plane crashed into a White Mountains ridge,
killing all aboard. "Magnificent Maurice" Gene DuBuque was one of the deceased.
Among the others killed were Janos Prohaska, his son Robert Prohaska, Jackie Tang,
Albert Kihn, Jim Dixon, Dennis Azzarella, Irene Bunde, Rick Ackerman, and Loren
Raymond. In reports of the plane crash, DuBuque's name is not listed. However, the
name "Gene Darval" is, and that is the name DuBuque was using for his Hollywood acting
career. In fact, his name was printed as Eugene Earl Darval aka Eugene Earl Dubuque.
Another wrestling history mystery has been solved. A big thanks to the Inyo County
Library for its assistance.
P.S. The one and only J Michael Kenyon informs me that he had this information as early
as 2006. Goes to show you that it's hard to scoop the best researcher in the business. I
need to rummage through his files for awhile to make sure this doesn't happen again.
Research by Tim Hornbaker
December 23, 2010
|Gene Dubuque Wrestling History