Greenlawn Memorial Park

Kern County, California

Obituary

Submitted by:
Sandi Carter

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Adrian Adonis nee Keith A. Franke
1954 - 1988

Adrian Adonis was a very famous and professional male wrestler from USA. He was born on September 15, 1954 in Buffalo, New York, United States.

Franke trained under Fred Atkins and debuted in 1974, wrestling under his own name. In the late 1970s, Franke adopted the ring name Adrian Adonis and the character of a brawling, leather jacket-clad biker.

In the late 1970s, Adonis joined the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based American Wrestling Association. In 1979, he formed a tag team with Jesse Ventura.

Adonis, now with a shaved head, had a ready-made feud with Beefcake but left the WWF shortly after WrestleMania III, returning to the AWA, where he was managed by Paul E. Dangerously during 1987. During this stint, Adonis feuded with Tommy Rich and lost the final match of the AWA International Television Championship tournament to Greg Gagne in December 1987. Early in 1988, Adonis was scheduled to tour New Japan Pro Wrestling along with other AWA talent, but an ankle injury kept him from participating. In addition to losing the money he would have earned from the NJPW tour, Verne Gagne stopped paying Adonis's weekly pay. When Gagne turned down Adonis's plea for financial help, Adonis unsuccessfully tried to get a job with WWF.

Keith A. Franke was killed on July 4, 1988, in Lewisporte, Newfoundland, in a minivan with fellow wrestlers William "Mike Kelly" Arko, Victor "Pat Kelly" Arko, and Dave "Wildman" McKigney. Franke, McKigney, and Victor Arko were killed when the driver, William Arko, allegedly swerved to avoid hitting a moose and, blinded by the setting sun, inadvertently drove into a lake. He survived, with severe leg injuries.



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