Big Van Vader Birthday & Fun Facts

Height, Age, Net Worth, Biography & More

Anusuya Mukherjee
Nov 10, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on May 13, 2022
Discover more interesting facts about Big Van Vader, the popular American wrestler, here at Kidadl.
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Read time: 5.2 Min

About Big Van Vader

Big Van Vader was a popular American professional wrestler.
Big Van Vader was Leon Allen White on May 14, 1955, in Lynwood, California.
The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestler had an addiction to alcohol and reports suggest that this was the reason for his divorce. In late 2016, he was diagnosed with cardiac failure. He underwent surgery in March 2018, but lost his life on June 18 at the age of 63 the same year. Apart from being a professional wrestler, Vader was also a professional football player.    

Big Van Vader Net Worth, Earnings & Spending Habits

What is Big Van Vader’s net worth?

The wrestling star was estimated to have a net worth of around $1 million.

How much does Big Van Vader earn per year?

The WWE wrestler's exact earnings per year when he was alive, remain unknown.

Height, Age & Physical Attributes

How tall is Big Van Vader?

The World Championship Wrestling (WCW) wrestler was 6 ft 5 in (196 cm) tall

How old is Big Van Vader?

The WCW world heavyweight champion was 63-year-old when he died in 2018.

Childhood And Education

Big Van Vader was born in Lynwood near California but grew up in Compton, California. He was born on May 14, 1955. His father was a United States royal marine who worked as a marine welder in the navy. Vader was raised in a rough region of Los Angeles along with his sister
The family later moved from there and Big Van Vader attended the Bell High School. While in school, he was interested in athletics, shot put, football, and of course, wrestling. He later attended the University of Colorado from where he graduated with a degree in Business Administration.

Family, Romance And Relationships

Who is Big Van Vader’s partner?

In 1979, Big Van Vader married Grace Connelly and the couple remained together till 2007. The couple had a son named Jesse White who was born in April 1986. Jesse, too, tried his hand at football but was forced out by a hip injury. Like his dad, Jesse, too, joined the World Wrestling Federation as a wrestler in 2011.

Career And Professional Highlights

Best Known For…

While in college, Big Van Vader played professional American football. During his college football days, he was well known for his offenses. The Los Angeles Rams picked him up in 1978 for the National Football League season. Though his team reached the Super Bowl, Big Van Vader could not play a single game due to a knee injury.    
Big Van Vader was working out in a gym when an old acquaintance asked to try his luck at professional wrestling. He was trained by the Greco-Roman wrestler Brad Rheingans and Big Van Vader joined the American Wrestling Association. Between 1985-1987, Big Van Vader wrestled well and even reached the American Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Championship but was defeated by Stan Hansen.
Big Van Vader toured Germany and Austria and participated in the Catch Wrestling Association and the Vienna Catch Cup using the ring name Bull Power. In 1987, he defeated Otto Wanz in the CWA World Heavyweight Championship and beat Canadian Luc ‘Rambo’ Poirier in the German tournament, Bremen Catch Cup.
That same year in 1987, Bull Power took part in New Japan Pro Wrestling and it was here that Leon Allen White took the ring name, Big Van Vader. He wore a black wrestling mask to identify himself as a great warrior from Japanese folklore by the name Big Van Vader. He defeated the Japanese wrestler Muhammad Hussain ‘Antonio’ Inoki and a riot broke out in the arena. 
In 1989, Big Van Vader defeated eight contestants and won the New Japan Pro Wrestling title. At that time, he was the first foreign wrestler to win the title. That same year, the world heavyweight champion defeated Riki Choshu and won his second New Japan Pro Wrestling championship. Later that year he competed in the Mexican Universal Wrestling Association (UWA) and won his match against Felipe 'El Vanek' Estrada and won the UWA world title.
In early 1990, Big Van Vader faced off with an old rival, Stan Hansen. Even before the match started, Stan broke Big Van Vader’s noes with a bull rope that he used to carry to all his matches.
Though the world heavyweight champion kept wrestling, the match was called off by the referee. Later, the American professional wrestler had to surgically insert a metal plate behind his left eye. In 1991, Big Van Vader beat Tatsumi Fujinami and earned another New Japan Pro Wrestling title, his third.     
His aggression caught the eye of the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and they approached Big Van Vader. By 1990, he began to concentrate on WCW World Heavyweight Championship and he quickly beat Tom Zenk. In an April 1992 match, Big Van Vader seriously injured Steve ‘Sting’ Borden and was quickly disqualified. Both of them met again in July, Sting lost and he became the WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
In March 1993, Sting did win against the WCW World Heavyweight Champion only to lose the title within six days.  During a WCW match, Big Van Vader threw Mick ‘Cactus Jack’ Foley out of the ring and he suffered a concussion but Vader lost. Big Van Vader was also disqualified after he hit WCW's new entry, Davey Boy Smith, using a chair.
During the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) Royal Rumble match in 1996, Big Van Vader made his WWF appearance as a participant and eliminated several wrestlers before losing to Shawn Michaels. Big Van Vader had various issues during the WWE and WCW against his opponents. He has also quarreled with even the WWF President. He had also knocked down Shawn Michaels who was the then WWF champion. In another WWF match, Big Van Vader took on The Undertaker but was eliminated and he lost again during the World Wrestling Federation Championship.

What awards has Big Van Vader won?

For his efforts, Big Van Vader was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2022

Other Interesting Big Van Vader Facts And Trivia

He appeared at the 2016 WWE ceremony to induct his old rival Stan Hansen into the WWE Hall Of Fame.
The American professional wrestler made periodic returns to the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in 2005, 2012, and 2016. In 2005, he was scheduled to fight Stone Cold Steve Austin but the WWE fight never happened.
During a 2012 WWE match, he took on another American wrestler, Heath Slater, and defeated him.

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Big Van Vader Birthday & Fun Facts Facts

Birth Name

Leon Allen White

Date of Birth


Date of Death




Place of Birth



196 cm

Eye Color


Child Star?





University of Colorado

Net Worth

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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