Name: Diane (Vivian) Vachon
Year Inducted: 2015
Vivian Vachon was the Wrestling Queen, and not just because she became the focus of a 1973 documentary on pro wrestling. She was the queen because she had talent, and because she had her big brothers, Mad Dog and Butcher, looking out for her.
Diane Vachon was born in January 23, 1951 in Newport, Vermont, the 13th and final child to Ferdinand and Marguerite Vachon and the only one of the children to be born in a hospital. “She was baby in my family,” said Paul “The Butcher” Vachon. “She was also my godchild. In French-Canadian families, they had such big families that the older kids became godparents also of the younger kids. She’s one of thirteen. I’m the seventh in my family, and I was 13 when she was born. I was just old enough to become her godfather, and she never let me forget it.”
Diane never found her niche in school, quitting high school after the 10th grade, and a stint at Constance Brown’s Charm School didn’t pan out. She did a bit of modeling but wasn’t happy.
Her brother, Maurice, saw that unhappiness and suggested pro wrestling. “She used to work in an office, and she used to hate that,” said Mad Dog in 2002. “She tried to work manual labor, brick, shovel, and work like a man. She was strong like a man anyway. As I said, ‘Why don’t you become a wrestler? Would you like to become a wrestler?’ She said, ‘Yes, I would.’ That surprised me right off the bat. I picked up the phone and called Moolah.”
In South Carolina, Diane learned the ropes from Lillian Ellison, a.k.a. The Fabulous Moolah. Mad Dog suggested the name Vivian. “My education really began once I left school,” Diane told a reporter in 1973. “I have learned more about life since I got into the real world than I ever did at school.”
Like all the wrestlers booked by Moolah, Diane wrestled across North America and in Japan. Very strong for a 5-foot-4, 160-pound woman, she made a name for herself, working as a babyface or a heel depending on the crowd.
“As far as I’m concerned, she was the best because she had a beautiful build, and she was a good-looking woman,” said Mad Dog. “She had everything. She was tall, and she was perfectly proportioned.” Vivian also had a terrific singing voice and recorded some songs.
By the early 1980s, Vivian was pretty well done wrestling, though she worked Mad Dog’s retirement tour of Quebec in 1986. “She was just getting into the height of her career when she gave it up. She was a natural,” said wrestler Buddy Wolfe, her first husband. “When she was ready to quit, she was ready to quit. She just wanted to be a wife and mother.” Wolfe and Vachon divorced in 1979, and shortly thereafter she met and married Gary Carnegie, and they had a son, Ian, and daughter, Julie.
On August 24, 1991, Vivian and Julie, age nine, were killed in a car accident near St. Jean, Quebec, when a drunk driver ran a stop sign. Wolfe, Carnegie, the Vachon family, and her friends said goodbye to Diane and Julie at a church in Glen Sutton, Quebec, and they were buried in Mansonville.