Monday, October 26, 2020

The Life Of Count Dante

Anyone who read a comic book in the 70s knows the above ad. To all of us, Count Dante was the least know 'deadliest man alive'. You think if he was so deadly that we would all know about him and SOMEONE would have made a movie about him. Even as kids we knew something was wrong there.

Whatever happened to.... 

"....Dante’s macho posturing and aggressive taunts lead to several heated verbal altercations between his and various other martial arts schools in Chicago. They quickly escalated into the windows of a number of area institutions being broken out, and then students — as well as some of their instructors — being jumped and beaten. 

In July of 1965, Dante and associate Douglas Dwyer, an instructor at the Tai-Jutso School of Judo, were arrested in a failed attempt to dynamite rival school, Judo and Karate Center. Detectives spotted the men while they were in the process of taping a 40-inch dynamite fuse and blasting cap to a window at the school. While running in the dark to evade capture, Dante and Dwyer sprinted blindly into a dead end alley and were soon apprehended. 

Explaining the incident to news sources, Dante described the attempted bombing as a “drunken prank,” and claimed that neither he nor Dwyer had any intention of hurting anyone at the school. Dwyer said that he and his would-be partner-in-crime had been drinking at a party before the early morning caper and that the act was a “crazy and stupid stunt.” Convicted of attempted arson, Count Dante was sentenced to two years probation. But a short time after the man’s probation ended, he was once again involved in another stupid stunt, one that would take a very tragic turn. 

On the night of April 22nd, 1970, Dante was embroiled in another of Chicago’s infamous “dojo wars” with Black Cobra Hall of Kung Fu Kempo. The battle was instigated by Dante himself and several of his disciples from the House of Dante. According to students at the Black Cobra Hall, six unknown assailants entered the school with their leader, who flashed a deputy sheriff’s badge and claimed that the students of the school were all being placed under arrest. Dante then unexpectedly struck Black Cobra Hall instructor Jose Gonzales with an unseen weapon that nearly caused Gonzales to lose his right eye, and a violent free-for-all ensued. 

Tipped-off by an anonymous source just minutes after the fight began, police officers arrived just in time to apprehend Dante and his fellow assailants as they were attempting to flee the scene. But officers would also find Dante’s close friend and student, James Koncevic, lying bloodied in a doorway, dead from a knife wound. "

.....Aside from his martial arts teaching, Dante also apparently dabbled in a curious assortment of career pursuits. He worked as the director of a wig and hairpiece firm, as a hair stylist and even as a beauty consultant. He also managed several car lots on Chicago’s South Side; one of two jobs that hinted a connection between Count Dante and the Chicago-based mafia. 

By March of 1975, a year and a half after his almost brush with film stardom, Dante was hustling for bucks as an adult book dealer (another seeming mob connection), while also making guest appearances on the Massachusetts “Ku-Fu Death Match” tournament and exhibition circuit. Dante also made an appearance at the World Fighting Arts Expo held at the Roseland Ballroom on March 16th, 1975 in Taunton, MA. The appearance would be one of his last. On May 26th, 1975 — as with Bruce Lee before him — death came for Count Dante as he slept. 

On the death certificate, coroners attributed Dante’s demise to natural causes: ulcerative colitis, or bleeding ulcers in laymen’s terms. Dante’s wife, however, stated publicly her doubts about that ruling, pointing out how in the autopsy report coroners wrote that her husband’s “whole insides” had been strangely eaten away as if by cancer. “But they didn’t put that down on the death certificate,” she claimed. 

And despite the official coroner’s report, rumors suggesting other, more provocative alternatives that explained Dante’s demise were passed through the proverbial grapevine. One that circulated around Chicago for years after his passing suggested that Dante had himself been on the receiving end of a deadly dose of dim mak, and was dispatched in a late night duel at the hands of a now nameless sensei from a South Side dojo––one of the many area instructors he’d challenged over the years. Another suggested that Dante had died under an order issued by the mafia, killed by way of the sub-dermal injection of “cancer cells,” similar to a claim that had once been made by Jack Ruby, the mob connected killer of John F. Kennedy assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. Now four decades later, the aura of mystery surrounding the death of Count Dante remains....."

You can read the complete article HERE.

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