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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Book details life of gay wrestler
Special to the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Ross Forman
2010-08-04

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The words and tales of Chris Klucsaritis will come to life less than a year after the former world-champion professional wrestler committed suicide this spring.

Klucsaritis—known to millions of worldwide fans by his in-ring moniker, Chris Kanyon—wrote and finished his autobiography about two years ago, though it never was published.

Klucsaritis' co-author, Ryan Clark, and the wrestler's friend Robert McLearren have shot life into the project. They've interviewed about 20 wrestlers—including Diamond Dallas Page, Shane Helms and Jim Mitchell—to complement Klucsaritis' original words.

The book, titled Chris Kanyon: Wrestling Reality, is scheduled to be released in December—and tells of his childhood through his world championship run with World Wrestling Entertainment ( WWE ) . It also talks about his training, struggles with his sexuality and mood swings.

In 2004, Klucsaritis revealed his sexuality after retiring from the ring. He was a special guest at the hockey portion of the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago.

"Roughly three years ago Ryan Clark approached Chris about doing a book," said McLearren, of Orlando, Fla. "Chris was unable to do a lot at that point in time, so I became the go-between for Chris, Ryan and the publisher. At that time, my role was very limited; I would talk to Chris about doing the interviews with Ryan and try to keep him motivated. The book was never released. After Chris died [ on April 2, ] I called Ryan and we talked about getting the book out there; we felt that would have been important to Chris."

McLearren, 35, is a multimedia designer for an automotive technology company as well as the webmaster for a few wrestlers' websites, such as Diamond Dallas Page. He has been in contact with several of Klucsaritis' friends in the wrestling world to add their stories to the book.

"At first, it was only going to be a few [ wrestler's additional comments and thoughts ] , but it ballooned," McLearren said. "The goal is to let his fans know just want kind of person he was, from the people who knew him best."

McLearren said the book's final version will be reviewed by Klucsaritis' family.

"Chris was my best friend," said McLearren, who, like Clark, is straight. "After he died, the stories started coming out speculating on everything about him. My goal, and though I cannot speak for Ryan but I would bet that he is on the same page, with getting this book out is for people to really know what kind of guy he was.

"I think that [ wrestling referee ] Dave Linton Rector said it best when he said, 'Chris was the kind of guy [ who ] would give you the shirt off his back, and thank you for the opportunity to do so.' Chris was one of the closest friends who I've ever had and in the short time that I knew him he made a huge impact on my life. I guess that I just wanted people to have the same respect for him that I do."

McLearren said the majority of the proceeds from the book will go to Klucsaritis' family, "with part of it [ also ] going to myself and Ryan Clark."

McLearren and Klucsaritis met via MySpace, and their friendship blossomed and expanded. At times, McLearren was Klucsaritis' business manager, agent and more, he said. McLearren texted Klucsaritis almost daily over the past few years as that was Klucsaritis' favorite form of communication, McLearren said.

"We [ also ] would [ talk ] on the phone for hours about his struggles, about reality and the universe," McLearren said. "Chris was an extremely intelligent guy who had a very unique way of looking at the world."

Thus, from the book, McLearren hopes the world learns of, "Chris' history, his struggles and the way that he looked at the world."

"You'll also learn what kind of person he was from other people's perspectives," McLearren added. "I think that's my favorite thing about the interviews. It's very easy for someone to paint themselves in a positive light. The interviews really help flesh out what kind of person he was and give more credit to Chris than he was willing to give himself."

Klucsaritis, 40 at the time of death, was best known for his stint in now-defunct World Championship Wrestling. He graduated from the University of Buffalo and also spent time working as a physical therapist. Kanyon suffered from bipolar disorder and, on April 2, was found dead in his apartment in Queens, N.Y. His death was due to an apparent drug overdose.

For more information about the upcoming Chris Kanyon book, visit www.facebook.com/ChrisKanyonBook.


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