Here’s what actually happened to all the Von Erich brothers from The Iron Claw
It’s hard to believe such a heartbreaking story is actually true
The Iron Claw hit cinemas over the weekend, and if you’re like me you probably went into this film knowing very little about wrestling and even less about the Von Erich brothers. Such a sad story, and one it’s honestly hard to believe is true. But the Von Erich family really did rule wrestling – and the brothers lives did often have tragic endings. Here’s a full rundown of what happened to all the Von Erich brothers from The Iron Claw in real life.
Jackie Von Erich
The film touches on little Jackie Von Erich briefly. He was Fritz’s first son. In 1959, aged seven, Jackie sadly passes away after he’s electrocuted touching an electric fence in a trailer park. He fell face down into a puddle and drowned – just heartbreaking.
David Von Erich
David Von Erich, played by Harris Dickinson in The Iron Claw, passes away in a hotel room in Tokyo in 1984 from enteritis in his intestine. He was only 25 years old.
Mike Von Erich
The youngest Von Erich brother Mike is showed so heartbreakingly in The Iron Claw, as he never really wanted to get involved with wrestling and was a passionate musician. He got an injury wrestling in Israel and got toxic shock syndrome. He tried to get back into wrestling but was too weak. He overdosed in 1987 at just age 23.
Chris Von Erich
The Iron Claw completely omits Chris Von Erich – with Sean Durkin saying the film was already too bleak. Chris had asthma and brittle bones, and after Mike took his own life spiralled into depression and drug issues. He was also really frustrated by his lack of ability in wrestling and inability to progress his career. He shot himself in the head in 1991 – aged 21.
Kerry Von Erich
Jeremy Allen White plays Kerry Von Erich – the Olympian brother who returns to wrestling after the USA pulls out of the Moscow olympics. In 1993, he took his own life on Fritz’s ranch as The Iron Claw depicts. He was 33 years old.
Kevin Von Erich
Zac Efron takes lead role in The Iron Claw as Kevin Von Erich. Kevin is the second oldest son and the de facto eldest after Jackie passed away aged seven. He’s also the only surviving brother. Kevin married Pam in 1980 – played by Lily James in The Iron Claw and then moved his whole family to Hawaii, where the couple have four kids and thirteen grandchildren.
They relocated back to Texas in 2023 – moving to Boerne. Kevin spoke about the grief of the film at The Iron Claw premiere, saying “A lot of people are hurting in a bad way and maybe are at the bottom and thinking, ‘How am I gonna get out of this?’ You know? And a man has to fight. Life is hard, and a lot of people have it a lot harder than I have it, but I think that if this would be the kind of movie that could help lift someone up and maybe show them that you can do it. Don’t quit. Keep fighting. Keep trying.
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