Koko B. Ware and the Tragedy That Befell His Iconic Bird

The Tragic Story of Frankie, Bird of Koko B Ware

Photo Credit: Pro Wrestling Stories.

For Koko B. Ware, his bird Frankie was much more than something that helped him stand out amongst the many greats of his time. He was his beloved pet. Frankie entertained millions of fans, and the poor bird deserved a better way to go out.

In an interview with the now-defunct Everywhere Legends Video, Koko B. Ware opened up about his bird, Frankie.

The Origin of the ‘Birdman’ Gimmick

Photo Credit: WWE.

“It started out as my late wife’s idea. God bless her. She really helped me get the idea of the ‘Birdman.’

As a matter of fact, I was the ‘Birdman’ before I got the bird. I had birds on my tights.

We were sitting at home, and we were watching the movie Purple Rain with Morris Day and The Time, and they were on the stage doing this bird dance, and my wife was a dance teacher, and she just got up and said, ‘You could do this dance really easy. Everybody can do this bird dance.’

So I said, ‘Okay, I’ll take it to the ring.’ And it took off.”

The Birth of the ‘Birdman’ Idea

Photo Credit: WWE.

“One day she went to a pet store, and she saw that blue and gold Macaw she had this Polaroid camera, and she took a picture of it.

She came back home, and she said, ‘This is what you need to help you get on top.’

I asked her what she meant by getting ‘on top,’ and she said, ‘If you wanna be where Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Roddy Piper are, you need this. Put it in your pocket.’

And you know, it was strange.”

The Transformation of Koko B Ware

Photo Credit: WWE.

“When Vince McMahon was going around the territories and pulling out all the best talent that he could out of every small territory there was, I just happened to be down in Louisiana.

After that, he just called me and said, ‘We want you in the WWE. We definitely got to have you. You’re talented, and you’re good. We need you.’

When I went to New York, I met with Vince, and at the end of the conversation, I was walking away, getting ready to leave, and out of the blue, he said, ‘Is there anything else that you would like to add to your gimmick?

I said, ‘Oh yeah…’, reached in my pocket, ‘I would love to have… THIS!'”

Frankie: The Beloved Companion

Photo Credit: WWE.

“I don’t know where I’d be today without Frankie.

We went all over the world.

When I come to all these places to wrestle, you know, America, Canada, Japan, China, Russia, Austria, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, all these places I go to wrestle, when I couldn’t take my bird, it was just hard for me to function. We got along great.”

The Tragic Loss in a House Fire

Photo Credit: WWE.

“I had him for 15 years. I lost him in a house fire [in 2001]. It was hard, very hard.

I was at church, and somebody came running up to me and said, ‘Koko, you gotta go home, your house is on fire…’

I got there, and it was a disaster.”

The Heartbreaking Discovery

Photo Credit: WWE.

“A neighbor who I had never met before, who lived down the street, was in the backyard on his knees crying.

‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t save your child…’

He had heard a voice inside the burning house. It was saying, ‘Let me out! Let me out!’

He thought it was one of my kids. It was Frankie, trapped in his cage.”

Frankie’s Enduring Presence

Photo Credit: WWE.

“I loved Frankie. To this day, his spirit is still with me.

God bless you, Frankie.”

We feel your pain, Koko. What a tragically sad ending for Frankie!

For Koko B. Ware, Frankie was much more than an essential ingredient that helped him stand out amongst the many greats of his time. He was his loved pet.

Paying Tribute to Frankie

Photo Credit: WWE.

Millions of fans were entertained by Frankie, and there is even a Find a Grave memorial page dedicated to the beloved bird.

A Farewell to Frankie

Photo Credit: WWE.

RIP, sweet Frankie. You deserved a better way to go out.

This story was one of many included in our long-form piece, Wrestling Animals and Their Chilling Stories Outside of the Ring. Read on to learn the stories of many of the true heroes of wrestling.

Rick Rude: A Ravishing Man with a Tragic End

Rick Rude was more than "Ravishing."
Photo Credit: WWE.

“He refused to budge.”

Rick Rude was a unique, once-in-a-lifetime kind of wrestler. He went by the nickname “Ravishing” — and rightfully so. He had a solid moveset, great looks, and unbridled arrogance with the in-ring skill to back it up. He played hard in the ring but even harder out of it.

Learn his tragic story.

Mr Perfect Curt Hennig – A Great Life with an Unfortunate End

On camera, Curt Hennig was arrogant, and he backed up his Mr. Perfect persona brilliantly. However, outside of the ring, it was a different story. Here is the story of an extraordinary life with an unfortunate end.

On camera, Curt Hennig was arrogant, and he backed up his Mr. Perfect persona brilliantly. However, outside of the ring, it was a different story.

Learn the story of an extraordinary life with an unfortunate end.

Doink The Clown – A Troubled Life For the Man Behind the Paint

The legacy of Matt Borne, who played the role of the first Doink the Clown in the WWF, is a little complicated.

Doink the Clown found fame in early 1990s WWE, but there was, unfortunately, trouble along the way for Matt Borne, the man behind the paint.

Read Doink The Clown – A Troubled Life For the Man Behind the Paint

Secret Life and Tragic Passing of WWE Wrestler “Crush” Brian Adams

Wrestler Brian Adams as Kona Crush at ‎April 4th, 1993's WrestleMania 9 pay-per-view at ‎‎Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo Credit: WWE.

Hailing from Kona, Hawaii, “Crush” Brian Adams was a dominant force who underwent many striking transformations over his 17-year career.

After retiring from the ring, he worked as a bodyguard for “Macho Man” Randy Savage and was excited about opening a fitness spa alongside Marc Mero in Florida. Instead, sadly, tragedy struck.

Read “Shaka, Brah!” – The Tragic Tale of ‘Crush’ Brian Adams

Owen Hart’s Death: What Really Happened, From Those There

RIP Owen Hart (1965-1999).

VINCE McMAHON: “Earlier that day, I was shocked and surprised by what Owen said.”

On May 23rd, 1999, the wrestling world mourned the loss of Owen Hart. People behind the scenes on this unthinkable day reflect on the tragedy, answering the all-important questions.

Learn more in Owen Hart’s Death: What Really Happened, From Those There

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Matt Pender is an old-school wrestling fan who currently lives in New Zealand. He is also a musical performer with his band OdESSA who can be investigated at the link above.