Born Mikhail Mazurkiewicz, Mike Mazurki was born on December 25, 1907 in Tarnopol, Galicia in Austria-Hungary (now Ternopil, Ukraine). Migrated with his family to the United States at the age of six, he grew up in Cohoes, New York and attended LaSalle Institute in Troy. He later graduated from Manhattan College with a Bachelor of Arts degree and became a professional athlete in three sports, primarily wrestling but also American football and basketball. He was discovered by Josef von Sternberg and given a bit part in "The Shanghai Gesture" which led to a long film and television career playing mostly heavies. His towering 6' 5" presence and intimidating face usually got him roles playing tough guys, thugs, strong men and gangsters. Possibly his most memorable role was that of slow-witted thug Moose Malloy in "Murder, My Sweet" with Dick Powell. One of his last well-known film roles was that of a henchman in "Some Like It Hot" with Marilyn Monroe. During his acting career, he also worked as a wrestler and acquired his slurred speech from to a wrestling injury to his Adam's apple.
Mazurki made guest appearances on numerous television shows, including "Daniel Boone," "Gilligan's Island," "I Dream of Jeannie," "Bonanza" and "Gunsmoke." He also appeared as an itinerant farmer in "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" with Jim Backus and Phil Silvers, two other "Gilligan's Island" co-stars. In 1965, he co-founded and became the first president of the Cauliflower Alley Club, an association of professional wrestlers. A photograph of his cauliflower ear forms the logo of the organization. Mazurki passed away at the age of 82 in December 9, 1990 in Glendale, California, survived by his wife and daughter. In 2005, he was posthumously awarded the New York State Award by the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum for founding the corporation.