Jerry Lawler, an icon of Memphis sports and entertainment for more than 50 years, received the AutoZone Liberty Bowl’s most prestigious recognition, the Distinguished Citizen Award, Sunday night, June 4, at the Hilton Memphis Hotel. All proceeds from the event go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“Jerry joins a decadeslong list of renowned Americans who have distinguished themselves and reached the pinnacle of their chosen field,” said Steve Ehrhart, Executive Director of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. “We are proud to include “The King” among the nationallyknown luminaries who have been honored by the AutoZone Liberty Bowl over our 65year history.”
About Jerry “The King” Lawler:
- Native of Memphis, Tennessee
- Has won 168 championships since his pro debut in 1970.
- From 1970 to 1992, he rose to stardom in over 20 different wrestling associations.
- Appeared on “Late Night with David Letterman” in 1982 that included a highly-publicized encounter with comedian Andy Kaufman.
- Since joining the WWF (now WWE) in 1992 has become one of the most legendary figures in all of wrestling.
- Has been a national television commentator for WWE for more than 20 years.
- Appeared in the movie “Man on the Moon” starring Jim Carrey in 1998.
- Accomplished artist and graphic designer
- Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
- Inducted into the Memphis Sports Hall of Fame in 2022.
About the Distinguished Citizen Award:
As the seventh-oldest college football bowl game in America, the AutoZone Liberty Bowl was founded on the principles of freedom, patriotism and liberty. One of the Bowl’s time honored traditions is the annual presentation of the Distinguished Citizen Award. The award has been presented to a cross section of prominent Americans from a wide range of professions, including military commanders, governors and congressmen, as well as leaders in business, medicine, education, entertainment and sports.
Previous honorees include St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital founder Danny Thomas; U.S. Army General Kenneth Tovo; Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Peter Doherty; FedEx founder Fred Smith; AutoZone founder Pitt Hyde; U.S. Navy Admiral William Lawrence; Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson and actress/business entrepreneur Priscilla Presley.
Legends from the sports world such as Paul “Bear” Bryant, Bobby Bowden, Lou Holtz, Tony Dungy, Lee Corso, Darrell Waltrip, Dick Vitale, Archie Manning, Tim McCarver, Peyton Manning and last year’s recipient, Steve Spurrier, have also received the award.