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Wrestler 'Handsome' Johnny Barend dies in New York

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

LAST UPDATED: 9:17 p.m. HST, Sep 20, 2011

"Handsome" Johnny Barend, one of the most iconic characters from Hawaii's golden age of professional wrestling in the 1960s-70s, died today of natural causes at his home in Avon, N.Y. He was 82.

Barend's career spanned nearly 25 years and he wrestled everywhere from Japan to New York's famed Madison Square Garden.

But family, friends and fans said one of his favorite places was Hawaii. 

A fixture in Hawaii during much of the 1960s when Ed Francis and Lord James "Tally Ho" Blears were the promoters, Barend was known for edgy interviews which amused some and terrified others.

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