Birthday: December 13, 1916
Died At Age: 81
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Also Known As: Archibald Lee Wright, Ancient Archie, The Old Mongoose
Born Country: United States
Born in: Benoit, Mississippi, United States
Famous as: Boxer
Height: 5'11" (180 cm), 5'11" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Joan Hardy (m. 1965), Elizabeth A. Thorton
father: Thomas Wright
mother: Lorena Wright
children: Anthony, Archie Jr., D'Angelo, Elizabeth Moore-Stump, Hardy, J'Marie, Reena
Died on: December 9, 1998
place of death: San Diego
Cause of Death: Heart Failure
U.S. State: Mississippi, African-American From Mississippi
education: Lincoln High School
Archie Moore was an American professional boxer and an occasional actor. He was known for being the longest reigning World Light Heavyweight Champion of all time. He also had one of the longest professional careers in the sport. Born in Benoit, Mississippi, he was raised in St Louis, Missouri, in US. As a man of color, he had been a victim of racism for much of his career, and despite his talent, he was denied a shot at the world title for ten years. He spent many of those years fighting on the road. His struggles eventually paved the way for him to become the World Light Heavyweight Champion. He was lovingly nicknamed ‘The Mongoose’ and ‘The Old Mongoose’ (in the later part of his career). He has been ranked fourth on ‘The Ring’s’ list of ‘100 greatest punchers of all time’. After his retirement, he became involved in causes supporting African-American rights. He was also an occasional actor. He made his film debut in the 1960 film ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,’ playing a significant role. The film was a commercial success. His other acting works include the TV film ‘The Hanged Man’.
Childhood & Early Life
Archie Moore was born as Archibald Lee Wright in Benoit, Mississippi, US, on 13th December 1916. His father’s name was Thomas Wright; he was a farm laborer and drifter. His mother’s name was Lorena Wright.
His father abandoned the family when Archie was still an infant. Unable to provide for Archie and his sister, his mother handed them over to an uncle and aunt, Cleveland and Willie Pearl Moore, who helped raise them.
Archie’s uncle and aunt provided him with a stable upbringing. He attended segregated all-black schools in St Louis such as Lincoln High School. However, in 1928, his uncle passed away following an accident.
In the absence of a caring father figure, Moore got involved with a street gang. After being arrested, he was sent to a reform school for three years.
He later joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and worked for the forestry division at a camp. He made up his mind to become a boxer, and therefore, he decided to make his work at the camp a form of training.
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Archie Moore turned professional in 1935, and boxed 11 bouts that year in San Diego. As his career progressed, he went on a tour of Australia in 1940, and fought in Melbourne, Tasmania, Adelaide, and Sydney. His tour turned out to be a success, as he won all of his seven bouts there, six by knockout.
He returned to US and defeated Pancho Ramirez by a knockout in a match. But he was defeated by Shorty Hogue on a six-round decision. After having four fights in 1941, Moore suffered from stomach ulcers, and he announced his retirement from boxing. However, the next year, he was back.
He had many successful bouts over the years as his career progressed. He moved to the light heavyweight division in 1946. Though he beat contender Curtis Sheppard, he was defeated by Ezzard Charles, future World Heavyweight Champion.
By this time, Moore had begun complaining that none of the boxing champions in the world would fight him, for fear of risking their titles. Eventually, in 1952, Moore was finally given an opportunity to fight for the title of World Light Heavyweight Champion against Joey Maxim. After a tough match, Moore managed to emerge victorious and finally achieved his dream of becoming a champion.
Over the next few years, he successfully defended the title from several boxers. He also made multiple attempts at the heavyweight title though he was unsuccessful.
He successfully held the ‘World Light Heavyweight Championship’ till 1962. His last bouts were against Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) and Mike DiBiase. In 1963, he announced his retirement from boxing for good.
Archie Moore made his acting debut in the 1960 drama film ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’. It was based on a novel of the same name by Mark Twain. Directed by Michael Curtiz, the film was a commercial success, earning around twice its budget. Moore portrayed an important character named Jim, a runaway slave.
His next work on the big screen was a supporting role in the 1964 film ‘The Carpetbaggers’. The film was directed by Edward Dmytryk. It was a huge success commercially, earning $40 million on a budget of $3.3 million. The same year, he was seen in the TV film ‘The Hanged Man’.
Archie Moore appeared in three more films: ‘The Fortune Cookie’ (1966), ‘The Outfit’ (1973) and ‘Breakheart Pass’ (1975).
Family & Personal Life
Archie Moore was first married to Elizabeth Thorton. They had two children, Archie Jr. and Elizabeth. He later married Joan Hardy in 1956. With her, he had five children: Reena, J’Marie, Hardy, Anthony and D’Angelo. The couple was married till he passed away in 1998.
His daughter, J’Marie, also pursued a career in boxing. She became the first daughter of a famous boxer to become a professional boxer herself.
Archie Moore passed away due to heart failure on December 9, 1998.