Donald King (born August 20, 1931) was an American boxing promoter known for his involvement in historic boxing matchups. He has been a controversial figure, partly due to a manslaughter conviction and civil cases against him.King's career highlights include, among multiple other enterprises, promoting "The Rumble in the Jungle" and the "Thrilla in Manila". King has promoted some of the most prominent names in boxing, including Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Tomasz Adamek, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Chris Byrd, John Ruiz, Julio César Chávez, Ricardo Mayorga, Andrew Golota, Bernard Hopkins, Félix Trinidad, Roy Jones Jr., Azumah Nelson, and Marco Antonio Barrera. Some of these boxers sued him for allegedly defrauding them. Most of the lawsuits were settled out of court. King has been charged with killing two people in incidents 13 years apart. In 1954, King shot a man in the back after spotting him trying to rob one of his gambling houses; this incident was ruled a justifiable homicide. In 1967, King was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for stomping one of his employees to death. For this, he served three years and eleven months in prison.
Don King's wife, Henrietta, died on December 2, 2010, at the age of 87. He has one biological daughter, Debbie, and two adopted sons, Carl and Eric, and five grandchildren. King is politically active and supported Barack Obama in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. During the previous election, he had made media appearances promoting George W. Bush, which had included attendance at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City.On June 10, 1987, King was made a Mason-on-Sight by Grand Master Odes J. Kyle Jr. of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ohio; thereby making him a Prince Hall Freemason. The following year he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane letters degree from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, by University President Dr. Arthur E. Thomas.King has conducted an annual turkey giveaway each Christmas for several years, in which he distributes two thousand free turkeys to needy South Floridians.
King was born in Cleveland, Ohio, where he attended school and graduated from John Adams High in 1951. After dropping out of Kent State University, he ran an illegal bookmaking operation out of the basement of a record store on Kinsman Road, and was charged with killing two men in incidents 13 years apart. The first was determined to be justifiable homicide after it was found that King shot Hillary Brown in the back and killed him while he was attempting to rob one of King's gambling houses in 1954. In 1967, King was convicted of second degree murder for the second killing after he was found guilty of stomping to death an employee, Sam Garrett, who owed him $600. He served his term at the Marion Correctional Institution, while there he began self-education, according to his own words, he read everything in the prison library he could get his hands on.King was pardoned in 1983 by Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes, with letters from Jesse Jackson, Coretta Scott King, George Voinovich, Art Modell, and Gabe Paul, among others, being written in support of King.
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