Pat Patterson Shares How He Came Up With His Name, Telling His Parents He Was Gay

Pat Patterson recalls coming out to his parents.

My Way: The Life & Legacy of Pat Patterson is now available on the WWE Network and in the documentary, the Hall of Famer shared what happened when he told his parents he was gay. Here is what he said:

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"No one knew I was gay, I was just a young guy, but I knew I was not attracted by a girls, no way. The first time I did something with a guy, it felt good to be caressed, to be held and squeezed, do you know what I mean? It felt good to me. But anyway, I was so excited, I'd wake my mum and dad up at 1 in the morning and I want to tell them the good news, that I'm in love. My mother was, well, I'm happy for that, you didn't have to wake us up. I said, no, I said, I'm in love with a guy, mom. [Explitive] My dad went crazy, he says, we're not going to have no queer in this house, You're going to have to get out of here, and my mother said, you can't do that. My mother was crying. I said, no, don't worry about it, I'll leave, don't worry, I'll leave. I left. 

I was 16 years old, and he told me, don't come and knock on the door, I didn't. I found a big suitcase in the garbage, tied it up with a rope, then I took a Greyhound bus. My sister gave me twenty dollars, I went to Boston."

Once in Boston, Patterson started working with promoter Tony Santos, who was getting him paid $50 per night, which at the time was almost ten-times more than he was making in Montreal. Not a fan of his name, as he didn't believe it suited the grandest stages, Patterson went to work on coming up with a pseudonym.

"I came to be a wrestler in the United States of America by the name of Pierre Clermont. Give me a break. Can you imagine, Madison Square Garden, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Pierre Clermont!" So I liked the first name Pat. So I went home, I took a dictionary, and I went to the back page of the proper names, then I closed my eyes. I opened the dictionary and the first name I saw was Patterson, and Pat Patterson is born."

Patterson began wrestling in 1958 and was the inaugural WWE Intercontinental Champion. He also competed in AWA, NJPW, and NWA. He was a 13-time NWA World Tag Team Champion. He finished up his full-time wrestling career in 1984.

Following his retirement, Patterson worked as a producer/agent and is credited with the original format for the Royal Rumble. He is best known to modern fans as being one of Vince McMahon's stooges alongside Gerald Brisco during the Attitude Era.

Sadly, the WWE Hall of Famer passed away at age 79 on December 2, 2020, following a battle with cancer.

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