Ken Norton, Former Heavyweight Champion and Occasional Actor, Dies at 70

ken norton dies

Former heavyweight champion Ken Norton, who beat Muhammad Ali and then lost a controversial decision to him in Yankee Stadium, died Wednesday at a local care facility in Arizona. He was 70 and had been in poor health for the last several years after suffering a series of strokes.

Gene Kilroy, who was Ali’s former business manager, says he’s sure Norton is “in heaven now with all the great fighters,” and Kilroy would like to hear that conversation.

Norton broke Ali’s jaw in their first fight, beating him by split decision in 1973 in a non-title fight in San Diego. They fought six months later, and Ali narrowly won a split decision.

They met for a third time on Sept. 28, 1976, at Yankee Stadium and Ali narrowly won to keep his heavyweight title.

Norton appeared in the notorious 1975 film “Mandingo.”

During the 1980s, Norton made a number of appearances on television, including on the shows “The A-Team” and “Knight Rider.”

He most recently appeared onscreen in the 2008 film “The Man Who Came Back.”

Screenwriter Kristin Ver Linden, niece of the former champ, released the following statement to Variety:

“My Uncle Ken Norton has passed away. With his passing, the world has suffered a great loss.  not only because he was a superstar athlete, father grandfather brother, uncle husband and so on, but because he was a wonderful person with a great heart and a great soul. He was also the one I watched that taught me hard work and determination pays off. I will proudly carry this legacy with me always and he will forever live on in my heart and the hearts of all who knew and loved him. Rest in peace Uncle Kenny…”

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 6

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Bard says:

    RIP. There will never be another movie like “Mandingbat”. Oh Archie.

  2. Jeff Conway says:

    They don’t make them like they used to. Nothing will EVER compare to boxing’s heavy weight golden era during the 70’s.

  3. Cherie says:

    Mr. Norton’s professional expertise
    and sportsmanship were always a feather
    in his hat! We will miss you Champ but
    you’ll never be forgotten!!!

    A true fan,


  4. Alphonzo Zeigler says:

    Im trully so hurt to know that another great icon and true man as left us. He will be greately missed and always remembered. Im a true boxing fan and he was the man. RIp K.N.

    • leon Martin says:

      Ken was a very good fighter, his cross arm block was similar to Archie Moore. I’m an ex fighter and will miss his presents

More TV News from Variety