Raised in Long Island, New York, Mick Foley pursued a professional wrestling career as a college student. He began earning attention from larger promotions in the late 1980s as Cactus Jack, though his taste for dangerous stunts left him susceptible to injuries. Foley later debuted the characters of Mankind and Dude Love in WWE and continued delivering thrills to fans while emerging as a popular champion. Outside the ring, he became a best-selling author and embarked on a stand-up comedy tour.
Mick Foley Early Years
Michael Francis Foley was born on June 7, 1965, in Bloomington, Indiana, and raised in the East Setauket section of Long Island, New York. An active if not overtly athletic child, he joined the Ward Melville High School football, basketball, lacrosse and wrestling squads, the last of which included future comedian and actor Kevin James as a teammate.
Foley also enjoyed watching professional wrestling to the point where he filmed staged matches with his friends. After hitchhiking to Madison Square Garden as a freshman at Cortland State University to watch Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka tangle with Magnificent Muraco, he determined he wanted to pursue a career as a pro wrestler.
Mr. Socko and WWE Championship
Following the Hell in a Cell beating, Foley turned Mankind into more of a comedic character who wielded a sock puppet named Mr. Socko. The transformation helped make the veteran wrestler a mainstream attraction, and in late 1998, he defeated Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to claim the WWE championship for the first time. Foley later paired with his former adversary to form the Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection, the unlikely duo going on to win multiple tag-team titles.
Although he ostensibly retired after a loss to Triple H in February 2000, Foley continued to work with WWE as its acting commissioner. He then resumed wrestling a few years later and engaged in high-profile feuds with stars like Randy Orton, Edge and Ric Flair.
Following a three-year stint with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, Foley returned to the WWE fold in late 2011, though his oft-battered body limited his actions in the ring. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 6, 2013, and remained involved with the organization as the RAW division’s general manager.
Foley met his wife, Colette, while handing out flyers for a wrestling event in Long Island in 1990. They have four children: Dewey, Noelle, Mickey and Hughie.
Books, Comedy Tour and Activism
Foley saw his first memoir, Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, hit the top of The New York Times best-seller list in late 1999. He has since penned several follow-up books, including 2001’s Foley Is Good: And the Real World Is Faker than Wrestling.
No longer able to fully commit to his full-throttle stunts, Foley embarked on a new challenge in 2009 with the launch of a stand-up comedy routine, eventually shaping his act into more of a storytelling segment that riffed on his wild career in pro wrestling.
Foley has also been involved with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), for which he has logged numerous hours as a crisis counselor.
Biography, “Mick Foley,” Biography (Biography, May 12, 2021), https://www.biography.com/athlete/mick-foley.
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