Charlie O'Connell, the biggest star in the history of Roller Derby, reportedly has passed away.
Jerry Seltzer, the promoter of the Roller Derby during O'Connell's heyday posted this tonight on Facebook:
"Shocking unexpected news. Our greatest male skater, Charlie O'Connell, has passed away. . . He made the game the hard hitting fast action that America loved."
O'Connell, whose status in the game could be best understood by his nickname, Mr. Roller Derby, was the star of the San Francisco Bay Bombers dynasty from the late 1950s, until the closing of Roller Derby at the end of 1973, aside from skating one season in 1971-1972 with the New York Chiefs.
O'Connell's popularity could be compared with that of Bruno Sammartino during that era, but O'Connell was more well known nationally because the Bay Bombers were syndicated on television throughout North America and at their peak, had 15 million weekly viewers.
O'Connell, who skated from 1952 to 1981, was 79. After the original Roller Derby folded, O'Connell married former New York Chiefs star Judi McGuire and lived in Southern California.