Juanita “Sapphire” Wright Death – Heart Attack
1934-1996 (age 61)
Best known as the valet for Dusty Rhodes, Sapphire worked WWF programming throughout the late 80s and early 90s.
She was commonly referred to as “Sweet Sapphire” and wore yellow polka-dotted attire to match that of Dusty’s.
Sapphire’s fun loving attitude and dance moves helped compliment Dusty’s gimmick, and helped get her over with the crowd.
Despite a relatively short run with the WWF, she appeared at all of the “big 4” pay per views, including WrestleMania VI, and 1990’s SummerSlam where she sold out to the Million Dollar Man.
Before becoming Dusty’s valet, Sapphire worked as a Dusty fan planted in the audience. This video is 6 years before her death. Wrestling Challenge, Nov. 19, 1989.
According to a 2004 interview with Sherri, Vince McMahon called upon Sherri to help train Sapphire. Sherri recalled one instance in training where Sapphire accidentally smashed her in the nose, to which Sherri proceeded to make her cry.
Sherri went on to say that she felt bad after the incident, and admitted that Sapphire and Dusty Rhodes worked well together.
Little is known about Sapphire’s personal life, or her life after leaving the wrestling business.
The rumor mill has always suggested that Wright was devastated after being let go from the WWF.
Sherri stated in an interview that Sapphire had an affection for Dusty Rhodes, not just in her storyline, but in real life. Supposedly Sapphire was very unhappy with her transition to a heel, a storyline that involved her betraying Dusty after being “bought” by the Million Dollar Man. During the initial heel turn segment at 1990’s SummerSlam, it does appear Sapphire looked extremely uncomfortable with the angle – that, or she was just one of the world’s greatest actresses.
Soon after her heel turn, Sapphire was no longer appearing on WWF programming, and no explanation was given to viewers. Sadly, Wright would die a few short years later.
Juanita “Sapphire” Wright died in 1996 from a heart attack. She passed away in St. Louis, the same city in which she was born.
Juanita Wright Grave
According to findagrave.com, Wright was buried at the Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN.