View Full Version : Nish Kikorian

08-04-2005, 10:01 PM
According to his record on BoxRec, Nish Kikorian
had only twelve bouts during his career in the
early 1930s. But there is an interesting story
involving Nish. According to an article in the
Los Angeles Times within the last few months,
Kerk Kerkorian, the famous billionaire investor,
was Nish's brother!

Kerk Kerkorian is famous for buying large blocks
of shares in a number of companies over the
years, notably MGM and, lately, General Motors.
At the present time, he is still going strong in
his late eighties. When he was young, Kerk
had some amateur bouts and was thinking about
a pro career, but decided against it. After seeing
his brother, Nish, sustain permanent injuries, Kerk
feels that it was a blessing that he didn't box
professionally. According to the California Death
Records database on the genealogical website,
RootsWeb, one Nishon Kerkorian was born on
April 10, 1912 in California and died on March 11,
1992 in Los Angeles County at the age of 79.

- Chuck Johnston

08-05-2005, 10:35 AM

As usual, you nudged me into recall once more with your bit on Nish Krikorian.

You see Don Fraser, Referee Frankie Van and the two Krikorians,
Nish and Kirk, paid me a surprise visit when I was out of boxing and living in Calexico, on the Mexico-California border in the early 1960s. They were all in town for the Don Jordan vs Molote Cota fight scheduled for Mexicali that week.

What very few people know is that Kirk was very much interested in purchasing the contract of Don Jordan from Don Nesseth and Jackie McCoy, who handled Jordan's ring career at the time. After we had spent some time in my living room cutting up old touches, they all left and I went to a Mexicali motel to visit with Jackie and Eddie Furtch, who would be working the corner with Jordan that night. That's the last time I ever saw Eddie who was one classy guy, let me tell you. Jackie and I, of course, were old drinking pals from my days at the Legion Stadium.

Nish was his old ebulliant self, all smiles and treating me like a long lost friend because I saw him often when I was in Hollywood.
Frankie Van I knew well, and Fraser had been our publicity man at the Legion while I was the matchmaker. I actually met Kirk for the first time that day, though we had one thing in common at the time-----we had both lived in Fresno during the 1930s. I believe the Krikorians were born there---not sure about that. The upshot is we all went to the fight that evening, held indoors across the border.

Someday some one will write Kirk's life story, which is a very interesting tale of success. He started out with a little airline that flew from southern California to Vegas and really hit it big as Del Webb and Howard Hughes began to fade from prominence in Las Vegas.

But it's true----Kirk almost broke into the game as a fight manager way back then, with Don Jordan's career being one of his early interests.

Sorry to say I broke an ankle and have been hobbling about and unable to post on the cyberzone with regularity. It's been three weeks since, but my doc says about four more weeks and I'll be okay.


One-legged Hap Navarro

08-06-2005, 08:36 PM
Hap- Hope that you get well soon!

It seems that alot of people of Armenian descent
moved to Fresno. The famous author, William
Saroyan, lived there. I think that Doug Krikorian,
the fine sportswriter in the Los Angeles area, was
born in the Fresno area.

George Deukemeijian (did I spell his name right?),
a two-time Governor of California, is of Armenian
descent, but I don't know if he is from the Fresno

- Chuck Johnston

08-07-2005, 02:00 AM

One thing you learn very early while living in Fresno, California is how proud the hometowners are of some of the people who were born there and went on to become famous.

Being a western art fancier, I learned that none other than the great Maynard Dixon was a native of Fresno, as was the unique "bloody" Sam Peckinpah, of Hollywood movie fame. As a teenager at LA's Fremont High School I would stare at the hiuge mural done for our Study Hall by Dixon during the depessed WPA era. It was a painting of John C Fremont atop a mountain, looking down into the promised land of California just before the gold rush days.

Fresno was also the hometown of a couple of noted baseball Hall pf Famers, Frank Chance (Evers-to-Tinker-to -Chance) and Tom Seaver. Plus, of course, Young Corbett III.

But I'm certain there are many others we have not mentioned who also began life in that fine San Joaquin Valley town.


hap navarro

08-07-2005, 03:00 AM
Hap- There were a number of noted racecar drivers
from Fresno, including Billy Vukovich Sr., who had two
wins at the Indy 500.

- Chuck Johnston

08-07-2005, 09:27 AM
You are so right, Charles E.!

My mom's house in 1939-40 was on Ferger near Imperial, across the way from the ever-popular Imperial Drive In Restaurant. Going downtown on the street car that ran on Fulton I had to walk a few blocks to the carline and would always marvel at passing a gas station that must have been owned by Vucovich because one of his racing cars was always on display on the station lot.

I really enjoyed living in Fresno in those days, when there were only about 60,000 people in the town. Minimum wage by law was all of 25 cents an hour, my earnings while working for a wealthy Armenian packing plant owner. (Ribier table grapes destined for England).

Another great athlete out of Fresno was high jump record holder Walter Marty, in the mid 1930s. I remember visiting the trackmen at old Radcliffe Stadium on Blackstone Avenue and surprisingly getting to know a Fresno State shot putter named Skinner. He turned out to be the son of our old Fremont High Boys' Vice Principal, "Doc" Skinner. Again, small world!

Our son Dan, of the Lowen & Navarro Band performed there last week and then hosted a seminar on composition at Fresno State College. They were fairly close to you a few months back when they played at U.C. Santa Barbara.


Windy Hap Navarro

Remember when the West Coast Relays were held in Fresno each Spring?

09-23-2005, 09:06 AM
The Forbes list of the four hundred richest
Americans has been released. Kirk Kerkorian
is "only" eighteenth on the list with a reported
worth of "only" ten billion dollars.

- Chuck Johnston

05-01-2007, 09:09 PM
During the 1980s, Nish Kerkorian was the owner of restaurant on Desert Inn Road in Las Vegas (across from the Convention Center) called Chateau Vegas. It was a great joint with lounge-style entertainment and a full dinner menu until about 4 in the morning. It succeeded the Flame Restaurant (a great hangout for visiting boxing writers) as the premiere late-nite hangout in the area. According to the Review-Journal, Kirk Kerkorian did indeed buy Don Jordan's contract in advance of his fight with Benny Paret. The deal almost fell apart when Jordan's wife tried to attach his purse, but the local regulators told her to take a hike. So, if the paper was correct, Kirk Kerkorian was stuck with Jordan, who went promptly in the crapper. What we learn from this is that Kirk wasn't a very astute businessman (Ha!).