Joe Louis - Former Heavyweight Champion, Birthday and Family

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Joe Louis's Personal Details

Joe Louis was a famous American boxing champion

InformationDetail
BirthdayMay 13, 1914
Died onApril 12, 1981
NationalityAmerican
FamousAfrican American Men, Former Heavyweight Champion, Black Boxers, Sportspersons, Boxers
City/StateAlabama
SpousesMartha Jefferson (m. 1959–1981) Rose Morgan
Known asJoseph Louis Barrow
Childrens Jacqueline, Joseph Louis Barrow Jr.
Universities
  • Bronson Vocational School
Founder / Co-Founder
  • Joe Louis Insurance Company
  • Brown Bombers
  • Joe Louis Milk Company
  • Joe Louis pomade (hair grease)
  • Joe Louis Punch (a drink)
  • Louis-Rower P.R. firm
  • Rhumboogie Café
Birth PlaceLa Fayette
GenderMale
FatherMunroe Barrow
MotherLillie (Reese) Barrow
Sun SignTaurus
Born inLa Fayette
Famous asFormer Heavyweight Champion
Died at Age66

// Famous African American Men

Joe Louis's photo

Who is Joe Louis?

Joe Louis was an illustrious world heavyweight boxing champion, who held the title of ‘world heavyweight champion’ for longer than anyone else in antiquity. Fondly known as the ‘Brown Bomber’, he brought about weighty skills to the game, which no one had seen till his time in the world of ‘boxing’. Of his 27 main fights, in which he came out victorious, four were won through knockouts. During his long and industrious career, he established his status as a meticulous fighter at a time when the sport was subjugated by bookmaking. Even years after his retirement, his influence was felt in the game he once dominated. He is widely viewed as the first African-American to attain the rank of a national champion within the United States. He also became a pivotal point of anti-Nazi feelings which played a role in leading upto World War II. He shot to international prominence after he defeated world heavyweights such as Stanley Poreda, Natie Brown and Rosco Toles.

// Famous Former Heavyweight Champion

Childhood & Early Life

Joseph ‘Joe’ Louis Barrow was the seventh of the eight children born to Lillie and Munroe Barrow in Lafayette, Alabama. He was of African-American-Cherokee descent. Both his parents were children of former slaves in America.

When he was a young boy, he suffered from a speech disorder and spoke very less till about the age of 6. He spent most of his early years growing up in the countryside of Alabama.

In 1920, his mother married Pat Brooks, a production contractor, after his father Munroe Barrow was admitted to a mental facility. Munroe Barrow lived there for the remainder part of his life and passed away there.

He studied at Bronson Vocational School and even though his mother always tried to get him to learn the violin, he carried his boxing gloves with him secretly everyday.

He made his amateur debut as a boxer when he was just 17-years old.

Career

In 1933, he won the Detroit-area championship, when he fought against Joe Biskey in the ‘light heavyweight’ division. The next year, he won the ‘light heavyweight’ division in the Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions.

In 1934, he went on to win the United States Amateur Champion National AAU tournament in St. Louis, Missouri. These amateur performances, in which he produced 43 knockout victories in 54 matches, soon caught the eyes of certified boxing promoters, who soon approached him.

By the end of 1935, it was clear that his string of amateur-level successes was no coincidence. He fought 14 sessions that year and received nearly $370,000 in prize money. The next year, he had his first professional downfall to Max Schmeling, a former heavyweight champion.

Undeterred by the defeat, he fought Jim Braddock in 1937 for the heavyweight crown and managed to eventually defeat him in the eighth rounds. He set the record as the new heavyweight king, earning the title of ‘Brown Bomber’, a title he kept for 12 years.

One of his most iconic matches was a replay with Schmeling in June 1938. The fight took place in the Yankee Stadium before colossal crowds and in a matter of less than three minutes, Louis beat Schmeling with swift advances and knocked him down three times, before the referee announced him as the clear winner.

From 1939 to 1942, he secured his ‘heavyweight’ titled thirteen times. During this period, he was successful in his matches against John Henry Lewis, Tony Galento, Arturo Godoy, Al McCoy and Buddy Baer to name a few of the top heavyweight names, whom he defeated.

He registered with the army in 1942.The next year, he made a brief appearance in the Hollywood ‘war’ musical titled, ‘This Is the Army’.

On April 9, 1945, he was promoted to the rank of technical sergeant. The same year, he was given an honor by the army. After he got out of the army, he suffered from extreme financial debts.

He retired from boxing on March 1, 1949. He made a brief comeback but he failed to create the sort of magic he created earlier. Hence, he officially called it quits on October 26, 1951, after he was knocked out by Rocky Marciano in a match.

After he retired from boxing, he was requested to partake in the San Diego Open for golf in 1952; a sport that he adored and followed right from his early years. He went on to become the first African-American to play a PGA Tour event.

He also invested in a number of businesses, many of which failed, including the ‘Joe Louis Restaurant’, ‘Joe Louis Insurance Company’ and a softball team called the ‘Brown Bombers’. It was during this time, he was a referee for boxing and continued with refereeing for the sport till 1972.

He was last seen viewing the Larry Holmes-Trevor Berbick Heavyweight Championship in 1981, just hours before he passed away.

Awards & Achievements

He won the Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions for the ‘Light Heavyweight Champion’ category, in 1934.

He won the National AAU Boxing Championship for the ‘Light Heavyweight Champion’ category, in 1934.

The ‘Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year’ Award was conferred to Louis, in 1936.

He held the title of ‘World Heavyweight Championship’ from the years 1937 to 1949.

In 1941, he won the Edward J. Neil Trophy.

In 1945, he was awarded the prestigious ‘Legion of Merit’ by the US Army.

He also held the title of ‘Youngest Heavyweight Champion’ from 1937 to 1956.

Personal Life & Legacy

He married Marva Trotter with whom he had two children. He then went on to adopt three other children. He divorced her in 1945, only to marry her again and divorce her again.

In 1955, he married Rose Morgan and their marriage was annulled three years later.

He married Martha Jefferson in 1959 and the marriage lasted a lifetime.

Apart from his marriages, he enjoyed the company of other women such as Sonja Henie, Lana Turner and Lena Horne.

A movie about Louis’ life titled, ‘The Joe Louis Story’ was filmed by Robert Gordon, with Coley Wallace playing the role of the protagonist.

He started doing drugs and in 1969, he was hospitalized after he collapsed on a street in New York City. It would later be revealed in the 1971 book by Barney Nagler, ‘Brown Bomber’, which tags cocaine as the reason of the collapse.

Towards the end of his life, he suffered strokes and a number of heart ailments and later, even underwent surgery to correct aortic aneurysm, in 1977.

He passed away due a cardiac arrest near Las Vegas, hours after his last public appearance. He was buried with full military honors at the Arlington National Cemetery.

A sports stadium is named after him in Detroit called the ‘Joe Louis Arena’. A memorial in Detroit was also made in his honor. The memorial is a 24-foot-long arm with a fisted hand, which is said to be a depiction of his hand.

He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, in 1982.

In 1993, he became the first boxer to be featured on the US postage stamp, issued by the US Postal Service.

He made it into the list of ‘100 Greatest African-Americans’, in 2002.

A bronze statue of Louis was unveiled in his hometown, located outside the Chambers County Courthouse.

Trivia

This famous world heavyweight champion backed the careers of several African-American golfers including Bill Spiller, Clyde Martin, Charlie Sifford and Howard Wheeler to name a few.

// Famous Boxers

Joe Louis awards

YearNameAward

Other

1945 - Legion of Merit (a military decoration rarely awarded to enlisted soldiers) for

Joe Louis biography timelines

  • // 13th May 1914
    Joseph ‘Joe’ Louis Barrow was the seventh of the eight children born to Lillie and Munroe Barrow in Lafayette, Alabama. He was of African-American-Cherokee descent. Both his parents were children of former slaves in America.
  • // 1920
    In 1920, his mother married Pat Brooks, a production contractor, after his father Munroe Barrow was admitted to a mental facility. Munroe Barrow lived there for the remainder part of his life and passed away there.
  • // 1933
    In 1933, he won the Detroit-area championship, when he fought against Joe Biskey in the ‘light heavyweight’ division. The next year, he won the ‘light heavyweight’ division in the Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions.
  • // 1934
    In 1934, he went on to win the United States Amateur Champion National AAU tournament in St. Louis, Missouri. These amateur performances, in which he produced 43 knockout victories in 54 matches, soon caught the eyes of certified boxing promoters, who soon approached him.
  • // 1934
    He won the Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions for the ‘Light Heavyweight Champion’ category, in 1934.
  • // 1934
    He won the National AAU Boxing Championship for the ‘Light Heavyweight Champion’ category, in 1934.
  • // 1935
    By the end of 1935, it was clear that his string of amateur-level successes was no coincidence. He fought 14 sessions that year and received nearly $370,000 in prize money. The next year, he had his first professional downfall to Max Schmeling, a former heavyweight champion.
  • // 1936
    The ‘Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year’ Award was conferred to Louis, in 1936.
  • // 1937
    Undeterred by the defeat, he fought Jim Braddock in 1937 for the heavyweight crown and managed to eventually defeat him in the eighth rounds. He set the record as the new heavyweight king, earning the title of ‘Brown Bomber’, a title he kept for 12 years.
  • // 1937 To 1949
    He held the title of ‘World Heavyweight Championship’ from the years 1937 to 1949.
  • // 1937 To 1956
    He also held the title of ‘Youngest Heavyweight Champion’ from 1937 to 1956.
  • // 1938
    One of his most iconic matches was a replay with Schmeling in June 1938. The fight took place in the Yankee Stadium before colossal crowds and in a matter of less than three minutes, Louis beat Schmeling with swift advances and knocked him down three times, before the referee announced him as the clear winner.
  • // 1939 To 1942
    From 1939 to 1942, he secured his ‘heavyweight’ titled thirteen times. During this period, he was successful in his matches against John Henry Lewis, Tony Galento, Arturo Godoy, Al McCoy and Buddy Baer to name a few of the top heavyweight names, whom he defeated.
  • // 1941
    In 1941, he won the Edward J. Neil Trophy.
  • // 1942
    He registered with the army in 1942.The next year, he made a brief appearance in the Hollywood ‘war’ musical titled, ‘This Is the Army’.
  • // 1945
    In 1945, he was awarded the prestigious ‘Legion of Merit’ by the US Army.
  • // 9th Apr 1945
    On April 9, 1945, he was promoted to the rank of technical sergeant. The same year, he was given an honor by the army. After he got out of the army, he suffered from extreme financial debts.
  • // 1949
    He retired from boxing on March 1, 1949. He made a brief comeback but he failed to create the sort of magic he created earlier. Hence, he officially called it quits on October 26, 1951, after he was knocked out by Rocky Marciano in a match.
  • // 1952
    After he retired from boxing, he was requested to partake in the San Diego Open for golf in 1952; a sport that he adored and followed right from his early years. He went on to become the first African-American to play a PGA Tour event.
  • // 1955 To 1958
    In 1955, he married Rose Morgan and their marriage was annulled three years later.
  • // 1959
    He married Martha Jefferson in 1959 and the marriage lasted a lifetime.
  • // 1969 To 1971
    He started doing drugs and in 1969, he was hospitalized after he collapsed on a street in New York City. It would later be revealed in the 1971 book by Barney Nagler, ‘Brown Bomber’, which tags cocaine as the reason of the collapse.
  • // 1972
    He also invested in a number of businesses, many of which failed, including the ‘Joe Louis Restaurant’, ‘Joe Louis Insurance Company’ and a softball team called the ‘Brown Bombers’. It was during this time, he was a referee for boxing and continued with refereeing for the sport till 1972.
  • // 1977
    Towards the end of his life, he suffered strokes and a number of heart ailments and later, even underwent surgery to correct aortic aneurysm, in 1977.
  • // 1981
    He was last seen viewing the Larry Holmes-Trevor Berbick Heavyweight Championship in 1981, just hours before he passed away.
  • // 12th Apr 1981
    He passed away due a cardiac arrest near Las Vegas, hours after his last public appearance. He was buried with full military honors at the Arlington National Cemetery.
  • // 1982
    He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, in 1982.
  • // 1993
    In 1993, he became the first boxer to be featured on the US postage stamp, issued by the US Postal Service.
  • // 2002
    He made it into the list of ‘100 Greatest African-Americans’, in 2002.

// Famous Black Boxers

Joe Louis's FAQ

  • What is Joe Louis birthday?

    Joe Louis was born at 1914-05-13

  • When was Joe Louis died?

    Joe Louis was died at 1981-04-12

  • Where was Joe Louis died?

    Joe Louis was died in Las Vegas

  • Which age was Joe Louis died?

    Joe Louis was died at age 66

  • Where is Joe Louis's birth place?

    Joe Louis was born in La Fayette

  • What is Joe Louis nationalities?

    Joe Louis's nationalities is American

  • Who is Joe Louis spouses?

    Joe Louis's spouses is Martha Jefferson (m. 1959–1981) Rose Morgan

  • Who is Joe Louis childrens?

    Joe Louis's childrens is Jacqueline, Joseph Louis Barrow Jr.

  • What was Joe Louis universities?

    Joe Louis studied at Bronson Vocational School

  • Which company or organization was founded by Joe Louis?

    Joe Louis was the founder/co-founder of Joe Louis Insurance Company, Brown Bombers, Joe Louis Milk Company, Joe Louis pomade (hair grease), Joe Louis Punch (a drink), Louis-Rower P.R. firm, Rhumboogie Café

  • Who is Joe Louis's father?

    Joe Louis's father is Munroe Barrow

  • Who is Joe Louis's mother?

    Joe Louis's mother is Lillie (Reese) Barrow

  • What is Joe Louis's sun sign?

    Joe Louis is Taurus

  • How famous is Joe Louis?

    Joe Louis is famouse as Former Heavyweight Champion