Verne Gagne to appear at Parkway Theater for "The Wrestler" screening

Minnesota wrestling legend Verne Gagne is making his first local public appearance in years this weekend at a screening of The Wrestler.

It's not the Oscar-nominated flick starring Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei -- it's the original The Wrestler, a 1974 film starring Gagne as an aging wrestler fighting pressure to retire and lose the title to Billy Taylor, played by British wrestling legend Billy Robinson.

The film is playing throughout the weekend, but Verne Gagne will be at the Parkway Theater Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. He may also appear Sunday at 2 p.m.

Gagne is 85 and has been sick the past few years with dementia.

In 2009, Gagne was back in the news after he accidentally killed another man at a nursing home. He had been involved in an altercation with 97-year old Helmut Gutmann.

Gutmann's family came out in defense of Gagne, arguing that it would be "inhumane" to charge him with any crime for the death due to the Alzheimer's.

Since, Gagne has been living with one of his daughters.

The film will screen at 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. tonight; 2, 5, and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; and at 7 and 9:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Verne's son, Greg, was an accomplished wrestler as well. He will be making appearances tonight at 6:30 and 9:30 p.m., and at 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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