Related Links:

Superstar Billy Graham Official Website



Graham: But then you have the renewal! The exciting story of the restoration of the liver transplant, and the stoppage of using drugs that turned my life around. And of course with the help of God, but also with the help of our own willpower that we have within us, doing a gut check…and just making it happen!


Chappell: Superstar, you mention the help of God in getting you to the point now where you have turned your life around. Perhaps coming full circle, I think many folks will find it interesting that in your early life, you actually toured the country preaching the gospel.


Graham: I did, I sure did. I was a minister. You know, I heard the story that if you don’t get saved you’re going to go to hell…hellfire and brimstone! You better get this message right and take it and believe it, or you’re going to have a tormenting eternity.


(laughs) I said, ‘Man, if this is the case, I’d better go out and tell all the people about that!’


Chappell: I found that part of the book really fascinating, probably because I had no idea that was part of your early life.


Some other tidbits from the book that most folks wouldn’t know about you from your early life…you were a bouncer, a professional boxer, a repo man, a CFL football player and you were in a training camp with the Oakland Raiders!


Graham: That’s exactly right! (laughs) You really did read the book twice, didn’t you?


Chappell: (laughs) You know I wouldn’t lie about that, Superstar!


You’ve certainly led a life that’s been a full one, in every respect.


Graham: I know…pretty amazing. And you know, Dave, the most amazing part, is that my life is still going!


Chappell: It truly is.


Graham: I’m three years out from my liver transplant, now. And I’ve never been healthier. I’ve never been more motivated and focused.


Chappell: That’s so great to hear, Superstar.


Graham: I’m thinking clearly…my head isn’t all muddled from drugs. So, I feel like I have a whole new life left to live, you know?


Chappell: Talking about your successful liver transplant, I thought one of the most poignant and moving portions of your book is where you talk about your liver donor, Katie Gillroy…the young lady who died in a car accident. She signed an organ donor card, and you received her liver…at that point in time, you were very close to dying with liver failure.



Kate Gillroy

(Photo from


You speak of now being very close with her family.


Graham: (pauses) Yes, yes…


Chappell: And, of course, liver transplants aren’t always successful even under the best of circumstances and scenarios.


Graham: Oh that’s exactly right. Of course, the uniqueness of how close we are to her family now…we literally live just fifteen minutes apart in Phoenix.


Chappell: Really…that’s something.


Graham: It’s like we’re family.


Chappell: You all have a very special and unique bond together, without question.


Graham: Katie Gillroy is always very much in my thoughts. Valerie and I keep a photo of Katie on our mantel at our home.


Chappell: Much like your health and spiritual side have come full circle, I’d like to close with talking about how your wrestling side has come full circle as well. I think the Mid-Atlantic fans will be interested in reading in the book about your earliest days in the wrestling business.


You were broken in by Stu Hart, in his infamous “dungeon.” And you were very close for a long time with Ray Stevens, who was a big star in the Mid-Atlantic area in the twilight of his career.


Graham: You’re absolutely right. Ray was my wrestling hero when I started out in San Francisco, you know. He’s a hard act to follow, he really is.


Chappell: From those early days in the wrestling business, you rose to your biggest fame in the WWWF…but then in the 1990s you had a major falling out with Vince McMahon, which is chronicled in the book.


I thought it was very interesting to read of your coming back to the WWE fold, culminating when you were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004. I interviewed Greg Valentine a week before he was inducted with you, and I remember how excited he was. With everything that had gone on between you and Vince McMahon, that moment had to have been very special…the circle was complete!


Graham: Oh absolutely, that was the crowning moment! And it does show you…that miracles DO happen! That WAS a miracle! (laughs)


Chappell: (laughs) Never say never!


Graham: Yes!



Chappell: In closing, Superstar, I know you are out and about now actively promoting “Tangled Ropes.”


Graham: Yes, all over the place!


Chappell: It was great seeing that you recently were in the old Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling stronghold, Charlotte, North Carolina, doing some publicity for the book.


Graham: I did a book signing in Charlotte, and then later that day attended the RAW show with Valerie. Vince McMahon plugged the book and the DVD. We had a great time in Charlotte.


Chappell: Superstar, I’m glad you mentioned your DVD that’s currently out as part of the WWE Legends series. It’s entitled “20 Years Too Soon---The Superstar Billy Graham Story.”



I read the book, and then watched the DVD. It was quite something to see many of the things I read in the book, come directly out of your mouth on the DVD. As great as the book is…sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, as the old saying goes. Certainly, the DVD is a great complement to your book. And there are also some excellent full length matches on the DVD as well!


Graham: Thank you for mentioning the DVD as well, Dave. One of the matches on there is myself against Bruno Sammartino.


Chappell: Where you win the WWWF Title in 1977.


Graham: That’s right.


Chappell: Well, Superstar, I want to thank you again for spending some time with the Mid-Atlantic Gateway today, and giving us your thoughts and insights on your autobiography, “Tangled Ropes.” It was a real pleasure speaking with you, and I hope we will talk again soon.


Graham: Thank you, and absolutely, let’s do it again soon buddy.


Superstar Billy Graham received his liver transplant on October 18, 2002. Since then Billy has dedicated his life to encouraging people to become organ donors.

If you would like to learn more, please visit


Hardback Book

By Superstar Billy Graham

with Keith Elliott Greenberg








© 2006 Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Graphics design and interview presentation by Dick Bourne