The Iron Claw True Story

The Iron Claw True Story

The Iron Claw True Story -: The Von Erich family is well-known in the wrestling world, but there’s more to their story than just wrestling fame. They’ve faced a series of tragic events that have left a lasting impact on their lives. In this article, we’ll delve into the history of the Von Erich family, from their wrestling legacy to the heart-wrenching losses they’ve endured over the years.

The Iron Claw True Story
The Iron Claw True Story

Early Days and Wrestling Stardom

The story of the Von Erich family begins with Jack Adkisson, who later became known as Fritz Von Erich. Before he found fame in the world of professional wrestling, Fritz was a football star at Southern Methodist University in Texas. He even had a brief stint with the Dallas Texans in the National Football League. But it was in the early 1950s that he discovered his true calling—wrestling.

Fritz adopted the ring name “Fritz Von Erich” and initially played the role of a Nazi villain, a character that struck fear into the hearts of many. Standing at 6 feet, 4 inches, he was an imposing figure both in and out of the ring. However, in the mid-1970s, Fritz decided to switch to a more positive persona, becoming a “good guy.” He kept the Von Erich name, which would become iconic in the wrestling world.

The First Tragedy

In 1959, tragedy struck the Von Erich family. Fritz and his wife, Doris, had a son named Jackie, born in 1952. When Jackie was just seven years old, a horrifying accident occurred in Upstate New York. He touched a live wire and was electrocuted. The shock caused him to fall face-first into a puddle of melting snow, and he drowned. It’s a heart-wrenching event that no parent should ever have to endure.

At the time of the accident, Fritz was away on a wrestling trip, leaving Doris to cope with the loss of their young son. The grief was overwhelming, and it’s said that Doris would often measure time based on how many years had passed since Jackie’s tragic death.

A Decade of Heartbreak

Tragedy didn’t stop with the loss of Jackie. Over the course of a decade, the Von Erich family faced one heartbreak after another. David, their second son, passed away suddenly in 1984. He died from an intestinal infection while staying in a Tokyo hotel. His death came as a shock to the family and the wrestling community.

The string of tragedies continued as Mike, Chris, and Kerry, three more of Fritz’s sons, succumbed to their own struggles. Mike, the third son, died at the young age of 23 from a drug overdose. Following his arrest for driving while intoxicated, he drove into the woods and took a fatal overdose of tranquilizers. His body was discovered just a short distance from the Von Erich home, along with a note addressed to his mother expressing his inner turmoil.

Mike was known for his kind heart, often visiting handicapped children and helping a needy elderly woman near his home. Despite his efforts, he struggled with self-doubt, feeling inadequate compared to his siblings in the wrestling ring.

Chris was the next to go, passing away at the age of 22 by suicide, with a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. Kerry, the final son, also died by suicide, this time with a gunshot to the chest. He was 33 at the time of his death.

A Denial of the “Von Erich Curse”

With such a tragic history, it’s natural to wonder about the so-called “Von Erich Curse.” However, Kevin Von Erich, one of the surviving family members, denies the existence of such a curse. In a 2015 interview with the Dallas Morning News, he said, “It’s not a curse. To tell [you] the truth, I may have believed it when it was going on, but I never said it out loud.”

Kevin explained that after enduring so much loss, he went through a difficult period. He wanted to feel punished and even contemplated going to prison just to experience more pain. It’s a testament to the emotional toll that the series of tragedies took on him.

The Passing of the Patriarch

In 1997, the head of the family, Fritz Von Erich, lost his battle with brain and lung cancer. He was 68 years old at the time of his death. Despite the hardships he faced in his life, Fritz had left a significant mark on the world of professional wrestling.

Life After Tragedy

So, where is Kevin Von Erich today? After enduring unimaginable loss, Kevin moved to Hawaii with his wife and four children. His mother, Doris, also relocated with them. Doris, who had endured the loss of multiple grandchildren, passed away in 2015.

In a recent announcement, Kevin and his family revealed their plans to move to Boerne, Texas, located just northwest of San Antonio.

The Iron Claw

The Von Erich family’s story is not just a wrestling legacy—it’s a tale of resilience in the face of overwhelming tragedy. Their lives have inspired many, and their story is being brought to the big screen in a film called “The Iron Claw.” The movie, written and directed by Sean Durkin, is set to hit theaters on December 22, 2023.

In the film, we’ll witness the journey of the Von Erich family, with Holt McCallany playing the role of Fritz. Zac Efron takes on the character of Kevin Von Erich, while Jeremy Allen White portrays Kerry Von Erich, and Harris Dickinson plays David Von Erich. The Von Erich brothers, who made their mark in World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), were inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2009.

“The Iron Claw” promises to bring the family’s story to a wider audience, shedding light on the triumphs and tragedies that have defined the Von Erich family for generations.


The Von Erich family’s tale is one of wrestling stardom, unimaginable loss, and unwavering resilience. Despite the series of tragic events that have befallen them, the surviving members of the family have shown incredible strength and courage. Their story serves as a poignant reminder of the human capacity to endure and overcome even the most devastating circumstances. The legacy of the Von Erich family is not just a wrestling legend; it’s a story of love, loss, and the enduring bonds of family.


What family is “The Iron Claw” based on?

A: “The Iron Claw” is based on the real-life story of the Von Erich family, who were a famous wrestling family. The movie stars Zac Efron and Jeremy Allen White, who play members of the Von Erich family.

Q: What is “The Iron Claw” about?

A: “The Iron Claw” is a movie that tells the story of the Von Erich family. They were a famous wrestling family from the 1960s onwards and became known for a wrestling move called the “iron claw.” The movie focuses on their success in the wrestling world and the challenges they faced, not just in the ring but also outside of it due to something called the “Von Erich curse.”

Q: Where was “The Iron Claw” filmed?

A: “The Iron Claw” was filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The movie’s trailer was released by A24, an independent studio, on October 11th, 2023, giving people a sneak peek of the film starring Zac Efron.

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