Posted March 20th, 2011 by Bill Apter


I received a telephone call just a few minutes ago from my dear friend Darla Staggs that our very dear mutual friend John Sutton, known to the wrestling world as Sir Oliver Humperdink, has died. He was a very young 62 years old. “Hump,” of “Red,”his nicknames as most of his friends in the business called him, passed away from complications stemming from bladder cancer. His past few days were spent in hospice and I am told from people who spoke with him just yesterday that he “was at peace.”

“Hump” was one of those genuine nice guys who no one ever had a bad word to say about in a business where that is so very rare.

My first exposure to him when I worked for the PWI family of magazines. Our West Coast photographer, Theo Ehret, used to send photos of Sir Oliver with his team of “The Hollywood Blonds.” The team consisted of Buddy Roberts and Jerry Brown and Sir Oliver as their manager. After publishing the photos several times he asked Theo for my telephone number and we became fast phone friends. Every week or two he would call and greet me with a “Billy Boy, it’s Sir Oliver!”

I finally got to meet him when he came to the Carolinas for Jim Crockett promotions. We travelled the roads together and it was in one of those rides we came up with the idea of printing membership cards for fans that they could show at arenas that the were “members” of “The House Of Humperdink,” his bad guy stable. On the other end for the “good guys” we thought of “Piper’s Army,” as his “House” was feuding with Roddy Piper and his friends.   All fans had to do was send a self addressed stamped envelope to the magazine offices (this became a cover story) and tell us which card they wanted.  For months fans waved their cards at either Hump or Roddy from the stands to declare who they supported! What an angle.

Florida, WCW, WWF, were all territories I found myself keeping company with the good Sir Oliver.  Sometimes he would just drop out of site to a Florida retreat home he loved and no one in the business would hear from him for months at a time.

I feel so fortunate to have seen him at the NWA Legends Fan Fest last year and speak with him just a short time after his diagnosis. 

He was what you see — a jolly guy who loved the business and everyone in it. 

We loved you too Hump and will miss you so very much.

Love–”Billy Boy” 3/20/11

The last time I saw Sir Oliver at the  NWA Legends Fan Fest in Charlotte, North Carolina we posed with our mutual friend “Boogie Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant.

Category: Wrestling.

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  1. By Dave Weltman, posted

    We love you Sir Oliver and you will be sorely missed by one and all. Rest in peace.

  2. By Jim McHugh, posted

    God Bless You Sir Oliver. You will be missed.

  3. By Stephen Faust, posted

    My prayers go out to family,friends and fans of Sir Oliver Humperdink.

  4. By tim burrow, posted


  5. By Judy Smith, posted

    You will be GREATLY missed my dear friend.

  6. By dale, posted

    It is truely sad to hear of Sir Oliver’s illness and then of his passing. The wrestling business has so much to learn from him and those who walked with him during the time of his career. I also still have, tucked away in a box; my “House of Humperdink” card. He signed it when Jim Crocket came to an event at the Waynesville Jr. High School for an event. Thank You for the memories. Rest in Peace.

  7. By sal rough cuts lasardo, posted

    i hope the wwe does a 10 bell salute tomorrow night on raw in memory of this great man –

  8. By tommy, posted

    My prayers go out to family,friends and fans of Sir Oliver Humperdink.

  9. By JJTj, posted

    My prayers also go out to all fo us who
    loved the man. I still have my ‘Piper’ card
    somewhere. I went to a match and Red signed
    it anyway. A pure class act, someone who
    always had time for a fan. We will not
    see his like again.

  10. By Mike Attard, posted

    What a personality Sir Oliver had! Too bad WWF/E never fully realized his potential. It’s sad to hear of his passing, but I’m glad to know he was at peace and did not suffer.

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