You know there's always going to be a list somewhere on the Internet. You can forget composer Johann Sebastian Bach, Oil Industrialist John D Rockefeller and Tom Flores, the former NFL quarterback later Raider coach. They never boxed. Comedienne Rosie O'Donnell, forget it. Granted she's mean enough and always looks like she's ready to start a fight. But it's not her. Actor Matthew Broderick of War Games and the Biloxi Blues was born today. But he's far too mellow.
The answer is - Chuck Wissmiller. The star of the A&E Reality TV Show Family Plots. He was a prizefighter for three plus years. Plus, his TV Show remained on the air for just about the same amount of time from 2002-2005.
While Family Plots was in syndication, Wissmiller’s mug was plastered all over the place. It appeared in “People Magazine, US, OK, The National Enquirer, Star Magazine, Rolling Stone, ex cetra, ex cetra.
Chuck's wild and crazy life, is one of those tales that makes people wonder how much of this is true and how much has received some embellishment? Chuck was born in Alma, Michigan, midway between Saginaw and Grand Rapids. From the age of nine, his parents, both professional dancers became floaters. They moved from Alma, MI. to St. Louis, MI to East Grand Rapids, and later ended up enrolling their son in the South Central Los Angeles school system before returning to Detroit.
The East Grand Rapids experiment:
After receiving a ton of money, a classic Roadster and a beautiful home in East Grand Rapids, his Devil-may-care parents went through his grandfather’s inheritance as if they were drunken sailors. His dad's volatile behavior made living at home a nightmare. As a result of moving from town to town, Chuck had to switch from one school system to the next. After a wondrous period in the East Grand Rapids school system, his parents enrolled young Chuck in an all Black High School in South Central Los Angeles, where he was one of only three White children in a school tormented by a gang known as the Crips. Learning to fight in order to survive the walk home from school became a necessity.
Talk about your peer pressure. "What can I tell you," states Wissmiller. "I was White and I could fight."
By the age of 15, the Chuckster knew most of the subtleties of the sport of boxing and was thoroughly caught up in training at a local gym. That was the year he set his father straight about beating up family members, namely, Chuck and his Mom. As a top USA Amateur, this two-time Golden Gloves Champion ended up representing Michigan in the National AAU Tournament and made it to the Quarterfinals of the Olympic qualifiers.
While pursuing his boxing career in the late '60s, Chuck used Detroit as his home base, and fought as far north as Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, south and east to Wooster, Ohio, and as far west as Rochester, Minnesota. Gents like Emanuel Steward were always going to his fights and telling him later that they were interested. Chuck was far too loyal to an undeserving coach and manager.
Muhammad Ali showed an interest, "When you get a little bigger, call me." Even Cleveland's under-world approached him wanting to talk about buying out his contract.
Twice, Chuck fought with only 19 days rest and coincidentally BoxRec.com, which keeps records of a boxer's history, states he never fought in the same town twice. Insiders will tell you, "His reputation for being a ladies man might have had something to do with that."
Chuck blames his faulty record on his manager’s careless misspelling of the name, Wissmiller. To get as many fights as possible, his manager would often have Chuck switch weight classes from middleweight to light heavyweight or as mentioned change his name. The list of alias grew to include: Al Westmiller, Chuck Weismuller, Chuck Westmooreland, Chuck Westmiller and finally his real name, Chuck Wissmiller. After a while nobody knew what to call him.
How Chuck met and married the "Love of his Life" is an interesting tale. "Her and I met and started dating. Before you know it, she came to me and said, 'I'm pregnant.' We're two young people madly in love and she only had her Mom. So, I go to my parents and my dad says, "We're not going to get involved."
"I said, 'Thanks Dad, I knew I could always count on you.' So, I go ahead and make the arrangements. We get all dressed up in our Sunday best. I call my buddy Johnny and his girlfriend to be my best man and maid of honor. We meet up with the minister around 8 p.m. at this Fire Station in Standale, Michigan. We get hitched amongst the fire trucks, no sirens, no emergency lights. To celebrate we head back to our local tavern, the Shamrock Bar & Grill. We're drinking and talking and then Johnny comes up with this idea, "Let's go bowling!" My new wife went nuts. A few years later, she's bowling every week and becomes one hell-of-a-bowler. I'm not a bowler but she wants to bowl all the time."
She used to crack me up when she'd say, "I love you, but I don't like you."
After hanging up his gloves, Chuck gravitated towards being a trainer, a trainer good enough to turn his son, Von, into a three time Golden Gloves Champion working out of an Oakland, CA gym. One of Chuck's biggest regrets is talking his son out of turning pro. After years of being an Oakland police officer, his son switched employers and is now working for the Sheriff's Department.
While in training at their Big Bear training camp, boxer, then trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr. asked his long time friend Chuck Wissmiller if he could help him prepare Oscar De La Hoya for his match against Fernando Vargas.
To quote Chuck Wissmiller: "Without a doubt that request and subsequent training camp experience, is one of the highlights of my boxing career."
More often than not, the business of being a big time celebrity got Wissmiller in trouble. Once, at this classy casino, six to seven rotund ladies, big mamas, cornered him and started putting their hands all over him. Not only was he offended by the gals who were molesting him, he was worried the casino's security cadre might throw him out of the casino.
At times, Chuck would get in trouble for being too carefree. He was once caught driving to the airport with a group of boxers stowed away in the rear of his hearse. The vehicle, used for transporting dead bodies in a coffin, had a corpse inside.
Past his prime, Chuck is not as sharp as he used to be behind the wheel. It's gotten so bad that not one of his friends will let him drive. His last auto, a Ford Taurus, was in six accidents. The car was in such bad shape Chuck had to use a chain with a padlock to prevent the front fender from falling off.
He's also had problems with the directions people give him for a meeting, a party or reception. "What do mean?" He'd argue, the directions you gave me were messed up." Not one of the other eight invited guests had a problem. Eventually someone would have to go and get him.
Chuck walks with the same swagger as that character "Rocky Balboa" in the movies. To a man, his buddies will tell you, "Chuck is very generous. He'd give you the shirt off his back. Even when he's down to his last dollar, he always insists on paying for your meal."
With all that's happened to him, all that he's been through, the close brushes with death, it's a wonder Chuck Wissmiller (or is it Weismiller, who knows?) is here today to celebrate his 72nd birthday. Many happy returns from your local fan club.