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Daily Goodbye

At 6'8" and weighing in at 350 pounds, it's not hard to imagine how the wrestler Aurelian "Jake" Smith earned his nickname, "Grizzly Smith."

Three of Mr. Smith's children later became successful wrestlers, Jake "The Snake" Roberts,Sam Houston, and Rockin' Robin Smith.

During the 1960s, he grappled in tandem with Luke Brown, and the tag-team called themselves "The Kentuckians."

Back then, Mr. Smith's nickname was "Tiny Smith."

Robert Wussler, a six time Emmy winner who helped found CNN, started his life in television as a mailroom clerk. Before joining Ted Turner, he was the youngest president of CBS Television network at 39.

Jack Harrison, one of the last survivors of the "Great Escape" plot to dig out of a German prison during World War II, has died at 97.

The allied prisoners' daring plan inspired the 1963 movie starring Steve McQueen and James Garner.

Mr. Harrison was one of the camp's gardeners, and he helped dispose of the extra dirt from the three escape tunnels.

Of the plan's 200 participants only 76 made it out before the German guards raised the alarm. Only three escaped to safety.

Angry and embarrassed at the Allied prisoner's brazen plan, German leader Adolf Hitler ordered 50 of the recaptured prisoners be executed. The other 23 were returned to the camp.

"I guess it was a blessing in disguise I never made it through, as most
were shot," Mr. Harrison said. "But the main
purpose wasn't just to escape. It was to outfox the Germans. It was a
huge moral victory. It humiliated Hitler and gave the Nazis a bloody
nose."

By T. Rees Shapiro  |  June 14, 2010; 8:31 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Goodbye  
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