Executive staff listing in the Olympic Auditorium Official Program on May 3, 1944 (below) …
Gordon Solie the History Buff; Part 3
One of the toughest people ever involved in professional wrestling or boxing was not a large
muscle-bound man but instead, a 5’3 petite lady. Her name was Aileen Eaton.
Before that, she was Aileen LeBell, a widow with two sons who worked for the head of the Los
Angeles Athletic Club, Frank Garbut. According to Kit Snedaker in a1977 article for the Los
Angeles Herald Examiner, Aileen LeBell was sent by Garbut in 1942 to investigate the losses in
revenue occurring at the Olympic Auditorium.
First, Aileen hired an experience promoter by the name of Cal Eaton (her future husband) and
second, she had the Olympic Auditorium making a profit within six months. Whether it was for
wrestling cards or boxing matches, the Olympic had a packed house every week.
It wasn’t an easy task for a woman with no previous boxing/wrestling experience to deal with
condescending managers and sometimes unruly performers. Within a short time, however,
Aileen won over performers and managers alike; she didn’t take any crap from the guys in the
business and she put money in their pockets.
The article by Snedaker from The Los Angeles Herald examiner was kept by Gordon Solie in
with his writing files and revealed some other little known facts about the business:
“Aileen took a good wrestler named George to Max Factor, had his hair dyed blond and curled,
put him in a glittering robe, and christened him Gorgeous George. He became one of the first
With the constant exposure to pro wrestling and boxing bouts, Aileen’s sons chose career
paths related to the business. Her son, Gene LeBell went on to become a famous stuntman,
professional wrestler and world judo champion. Son, Mike LeBell, continued the family business
as a successful wrestling promoter in California for many years.
It has been estimated that Aileen Eaton promoted over 10,000 bouts during her career with talent
like Floyd Patterson, Joe Frazier and George Foreman gracing the ring. She continued promoting
matches until her retirement in 1980.
More information from the Gordon Solie Collection is available at www.soliesports.com