One of pro wrestling’s first true giants, Don Heaton was nicknamed “The Mormon Giant. The 2nd generation wrestler to his father, Brother Jonathan, Don Leo would break records when he fought wrestling’s other giant, Andre The Giant in 1972.



Don Leo was one of my favorite men. That big man at 330 pounds
could do a backflip and somersault and nip-ups like a cat. I’d hate
to get mad at him at 330 pounds. He worked out a lot with this
Luther Lindsay who was one of the top submission wrestlers at
that time. Lindsay worked out a lot with Don Leo. Don Leo in
Lindsay’s words, he didn’t know enough people who could get
close enough to Don Leo Jonathon to even take him down. That
at 330 pounds, 6’6″, one of the best big built men in the industry.
Stu Hart from a Nov. 1997 interview with SLAM! Wrestling
I remember watching Don Leo in Montreal in the early 70’s when
he had great feuds with the giant Jean Ferre(Andre the giant) and
Mad Dog Vachon, Paul ‘The Butcher’ Vachon, Gilles ‘The Fish’
Poisson, Killer Kowalski etc…
He made himself look a little like Elvis in those days and always
provided a strong character to vent your emotions against
particularly when he was beating up Eduard Carpentier in the
Montreal Forum …
One of the away from the ring encounters of a GIANT kind.
It was in the early 1970’s and in Toronto at Toronto International
Airport, one summer evening I recognized an individual who stood
out and above the crowded Terminal 1. None other than Don Leo
Jonathan — a mountain of a man. I made my way over to this
gentleman and he loomed larger as I got closer. We shook hands
and I looked up — way up — as I stood 6′ in my uniform and boots
of the R.C.M.P. We chatted on the level for a while and all the
while I was glad that at this time, I was not put in the position of
enforcement because I knew I would never be able to arrest this
man by myself. But never fear, a gentleman all the way. It was an
honor and a thrill to speak with Mr. Jonathan — if that was his real
name and not his stage name. He was a great ambassador to the
Wrestling Community. At that point in time, the wrestling world had
not achieved the status which it now enjoys. The Gentle Giant
disappeared in to the crowd.
After almost 2 years at T.I.A I had seen many celebrities come
and go but none had the impact that the physical presence of this
man commanded.
I often wonder what happened to Don Leo?? If you have an update it would be appreciated.
George Nugent,, Toronto Ontario
What a wrestler! The feuds he had with Carpentier in the early
70’s! then he turned face and went up against Killer Kowalski –
another great one. I remember a championship match at the
Montreal Forum where Don Leo literally kicked Killer’s but around
the ring, and did Killer ever sell it! It was one of the bast matches I
ever saw.
Mark Nixon, Un montrealais living in Denmark
One vivid TV bout comes to mind involving Dean Ho. Dean
clamped an armlock on Don Leo. After a few minutes, Don Leo
simply hoisted Dean up in the air and sat him down on the corner
turnbuckle like a child. Then he promptly drop kicked him into the
audience. It was astounding.
A few weeks later I watched him get pinned by Bruno. It was my
first clue that the game was rigged. A man with Don Leo’s ability
would have flattened Bruno!
Don Leo was one of the few guys from the golden era who would
fit right in with today’s stars, both in size and agility. Of course,
he’d have some kind of goofy theme music now, but wouldn’t you
love to see him tangle with Rocky Maivia or The Undertaker?
Don Stradley
I had the pleasure to see Don Leo on several occassions in the
arena in Blacks Harbour N.B. in 1973 and 1974 he had many
unforgetable matches with Chuck O’Connor, (later to become big
John Studd) they fought all over the arena, in the ring, in the
crowd, and smashing each others heads on the chairs and into
the anouncing table and the bell that was on the table was thrown
around like a frisbee, I have seen many matches before and since
that time but that was the first time I was truly scared at a wresling
event, these men were both massive individules and they both
moved like light weights and not like two men that both weight in
at over 300 lbs. also I recall the night Don Leo had the pleasure to
fight the wresling bear this black bear had traveled the circuit fight
formidable opponents and this night it was his turn, this bear had
a muzzle on and could not bite but it was able to trip, and maul
Don Leo for about 20 minutes or so until Don Leo had had
enough, and he got the bear in of all thing the “bear hug” and the
trainer for the bear through in the towel. Don must have made a
lasting impression on me because after 25 years I think of him
often and was glad to read about him on the web that he still with
us and is making an appearance on “wrestling with the past” on
the Comedy chanel. though it was 25 years ago I can still recall
the introduction in to the ring “and now weighting in at 327 pounds
from Salt Lake City Utah, DON LEO JOHNATAN” and after
hearing that I would go home on Friday night and check out the
atlas to see where it was located. Thanks for the memories Don
Leo and thanks to you I passed my geography class as well.
Karl Mitchell
I remember as a youngster, watching Don Leo on t.v wrestling the
likes of Gene Kiniski Bulldog Brown, Dutch Savage,and John
Tolos. I always admired how a man of his size could move.
Whenever I saw him on t.v. I always thought how great it would be
to see him live. I maneged to do this only once,in Winnipeg. He
was in a tag match against Kobiyashi and Big K. I can’t remember
who his partner was, but I do remember Don Leo standing on the
outside of the ring ,and doing a sommersault over the top rope
and landing on his feet. The crowd just gasped. He was a true
phenomen.Actually, when I watch the Underetaker wrestle I
reminds me of Don Leo, in the way he walks the ropes,and does a
backflip over the top rope and lands on his feet. Anyway. Don was my favorite as kid and still is my favorite.
Orville Desjarlais
Don Leo Jonathan wrestled the night that Bruno took the belt
from Stan Stasiak. Don had a bout with a much smaller hispanic
wrestler. he was a little quicker than Don Leo however there was
no doubt who was going to win the match. Bruno winning the belt
was a huge treat but, seeing Don Leo in his beautiful garb was a
close second.
I remember seeing Don Leo fight “Whipper” Billy Watson in
Vancouver in 1959/60.
It was a great fight and anything went.
I don’t remember how the fight finished, but I do remember an
irate woman in the audience throwing a cup of scalding hot coffee
over Don Leo as he left the ring.
He was a huge man and superbly fit and agile.
I have good memories.
Don Leo Johnathan WAS a wrestler. At his age today he is STILL
a wrestler compared to the seek and geek disfunctionals of today.
Watson, Flanigan, O’Connor, Currie,
Rougeau,Kiniski,Kowalski,Carpentier, Gagne, Johnathan….A
Wrestling Hall Of Fame Unto Themselves. With even greater
The Bear
When you’re young and don’t know better, pro wrestling was the
best. Don Leo Jonathon — how he never got the belt amazes me.
A 6 f t 8 man doing a dropkick plus I beleive he once had the
greatest manager ever THE GRAND WIZARD
“A good big man can always beat a good little man” he would say.
I remember after he lost a match in Vancouver, Don Leo romped
in anger around the ring .
I was at ringside and as an impressionable teenager, was afraid
of the giant…. He was ” huge” for a wrestler at that time.
The Undertaker reminds me of the way Don Leo looked and
R.D.(Rick) Hawkins
I recently saw Don Leo Johnathon in an early match against Lou
Thesz. I have seen him on Japanese wrestling against Dick Beyer
“the Destroyer” and Anton Gesek. He was a bit older and heavier
but was still astonishing. At his size he was cartwheeling, and
kipping up. It was fantastic. Don Leo even made the other
wrestlers stop and applaud or stand with their mouths open. The
older match with Don Leo versus The legend Lou Thesz was
fantastic. It was cut off before the ending but Don Leo’s shear
natural strength size and agility could be described in one word
John Mozuke
I can remember back in 72-73 when I was approximately six
years old in living in Shediac,N.B. I had met another young boy of
the same age who was living next door to me for the summer.
One day we went to the beach to play and his Dad caught up to
us and played at the beach that morning during this time he
picked up a cement cinder block and put it on two two rocks and
wad able to smash it into thousands of pieces with his bare hands
in a single blow. This was a memory that would last a lifetime. And as far as I could remember Don Leo was more than a Giant in
Wrestling but a Giant Dad as well, as I remember how proud this
boy was to have a dad like Don Leo Jonathan.
Kevin Levy –
I remember as a lad in the 70’s at the Sudbury Arena, my dad
had taken me to see wrestling — DON LEO JONATHAN vs JEAN
FERRE (The Giant). It was amazing, the last match of the night,
they put on a spectacular show, the Giant beating him in the
corner. DON determinedly working at the turnbuckle trying to let it
loose. Jean punishing him and yet he kept going for the corner
buckle. Finally he releases the buckle, the ropes give way and he
uses it to bash Jean in the head (fake blood) but it got the crowd
going . I can’t recall who won the fight, but its one for the memory
book regardless. Only bad thing of the night was someone broke
into the car in the parking lot and stole my dad’s spare tire ROFL!
The good old days!
He was briefly teamed with Rocky Johnson ( Rock’s father) and I
believe they were undefeated. A GREAT tag team . They would
rock the Halifax Forum. W
I remember Chicago wrestling and Don Leo against Argentina
Rocca ( the bare foot wrestler) .
Also, I remember Don Leo vs Yukon Eric, they were great
Would like to know , if you remember Little Beaver and SKY LOW
LOW, midget wrestlers that played on Chicago Wrestling on TV.
I lived in Montreal in the 60’s and I think it was on TV on Saturday
I think the greatest wrestler that I saw in person was YVON
ROBERT, a french Canadian from Montreal.
His bouts with Whipper Watson are a legend.. RIGHT.