Joe Jares, a longtime sportswriter whose father was a well-known pro wrestler and whose early 70s book on pro wrestling was a rarity in that era, passed away on Saturday at the age of 78.
The Los Angeles Times wrote a story about Jares, leading his obit talking about his book, “Whatever Happened to Gorgeous George?”, which was released in 1974.
Jares was a well-known sportswriter at the time whose father, who used the name Brother Frank Jares, and on occasion, The Thing, was a journeyman pro wrestler when he was growing up. Jares’ book, which Scott Teal just reprinted with Crowbar Press, was just about the only book of that era which wrote about pro wrestling seriously, but was in no ways knocked the profession.
The book was derived from a 1966 article he wrote called “My Father, The Thing” in Sports Illustrated.
Jares’ book covered pro wrestling as best as it was remembered before historians in the last few decades separated a lot of the fiction from histories due to more extensive research. Jares spoke to the leaders in pro wrestling telling stories about famous matches, biggest gates (most real, a few that didn’t happen) and weaving it in with how the business was and his fathers’ stories to him.
Jares spent 15 years with Sports Illustrated and also worked for a number of Los Angeles newspapers including the Herald-Express, the LA Times, and The Daily News where he was sports editor. He wrote books on other sports as well, including basketball and tennis, and later taught sports reporting at his alma mater of USC. He was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2015.