Leroy Brown – Stroke
1950-1988 (Age 37)
You never know what will inspire a promoter to create a wrestling persona whether it’s a popular movie (Billy Jack based on the popular 1970s Billy Jack action films) or in Roland Daniels’ case, the Jim Croce song “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.”
Daniels looked and acted the part of Croce’s character, working as a bad-ass babyface and a monster heel during the 70s and 80s.
Roland Daniels was born in Savannah, Georgia on November 30, 1950, debuting in the ring in 1977 naming himself “Bad Bad” Leroy Brown after the popular Jim Croce song.
While Brown wouldn’t be the first wrestler to enter the ring to music, his use of Croce’s song distinguished him from most of his contemporaries.
Brown worked a number of National Wrestling Alliance territories including several campaigns as a heel in Championship Wrestling from Florida, under the tutelage of manager Sir Oliver Humperdink.
Leroy wrestled as a babyface in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, serving as a troubleshooter to deal with heels running in on matches. However, Brown eventually turned heel, siding again with Humperdink.
A Racially Charged Character
In addition to his time as Leroy Brown, Roland also adopted the identity of Elijah Akeem, portraying a radical Black Muslim.
While such a character might not fit in with today’s modern sensibilities, the Elijah Akeem character was by no means the only character of the time that played on ethnicity and politics.
Akeem teamed with Kareem Muhamad (aka Ray Candy) as “The Zambuie Express,” a heel team with unforgettable feuds in Championship Wrestling from Florida and Memphis’ Continental Wrestling Association (CWA).
Often Imitated Never Duplicated
Daniels later returned to his Leroy Brown character. It should be noted that several wrestlers portrayed Leroy Brown, but Daniels is the man most identified with the role.
The Death of Leroy Brown
On September 6, 1988, Daniels died after suffering a stroke followed by a heart attack. Although he was only 37, he had been battling cirrhosis.
According to the website Find A Grave, burial details are unknown.
Other pro wrestlers who died in 1988 include Adrian Adonis and Bruiser Brody.
What are your favorite memories of Leroy Brown? Let us know in the comments below.