Emily Dole, who wrestled as Mt. Fiji in the 1980s women’s promotion GLOW, died last night at the age of 60. Dole, who is an Orange County native, had been in poor health over the last few years with a number of different health issues and had been receiving care in a nursing home. No cause of death has been announced.
Born September 28, 1957, Dole grew up as part of a large Samoan family in Orange County and graduated from Buena Park High School in 1975. She was a member of her school’s track and field team where she set the California state record for girl’s shotput with a mark of 50- 1/2 (the record was later broken in 1983). After high school she qualified for the Olympic trials in shotput in 1976 and 1980, finishing fifth and seventh. She also had a bit part in the 1982 film Personal Best starring Mariel Hemingway and Scott Glenn.
In 1985 she was one of over 500 women who showed to audition for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling after casting notices were posted in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. She was one 12 women selected for the show and began wrestling training with Mando Guerrero and later Cynthia Peretti. As the largest woman on the roster, she was given the name Mt. Fiji.
GLOW premiered on television in 1986 and for the shows first two seasons she feuded with Matilda the Hun; often to protect her in storyline sister, Little Fiji. For the third and fourth seasons she faced off against Big Bad Mama, who joined the show after a good portion of the roster, including Matilda the Hun, left to join Powerful Women of Wrestling. Mt. Fiji left the show after the fourth season, having never suffered a loss in the promotion.
On February 11, 1989 dozens of sheriff’s deputies, clad in riot gear, stormed the home of Arthur Dole, Emily Dole’s father, to break up a bridal shower for her sister. Thirty-four people, all Samoan, ended up being arrested that night. Neighbors videotaped the incident showing the deputies beating members of the family. This included Emily Dole, who video showed taking a passive stance with her arms folded while police beat her to the ground with flashlights and batons. The family ended up suing the sheriff’s department and was awarded $23 million in 1995. None of the deputies were disciplined. At a news conference after the sheriff’s department lost an appeal in 1998 Emily Dole said “Thank god it’s over with. This goes to show that in the United States of America, justice does prevail.”
Outside of wrestling Dole also appeared on Mama’s Family, the Pauly Shore’s Son in Law, and on Family Feud among other shows of the era.
Emily Dole is interviewed and featured in the 2012 documentary film GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling and is the influence for Britney Young’s Carmen ‘Machu Picchu’ Wade on the current Netflix series GLOW, a fictional version of the 1980s promotion.