As the then WWF rose to prominence in pop culture during the 1980’s, the name of Kamala “The Ugandan Giant” or “Ugandan Headhunter” help to fill arenas in matches against Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant, and Undertaker(early 90’s). The 6ft 7in star had a memorable run in the (WWF) era, in the mid-1980s and early 1990s.
WWE is saddened to learn that James Harris, known to WWE fans as Kamala, has passed away at age 70.https://t.co/d0kGY4GcTO
— WWE (@WWE) August 10, 2020
James Harris hailed from Mississippi and began wrestling in 1978, under the ring name “Sugar Bear.” In 2012, he recalled how his mentor Jerry Lawler invented the Kamala character.
“He put the paint and stuff on me and they put the little skirt on me,” Harris said. “I like doing that kind of stuff.”
He also performed in other leagues such as WCW, World Class Championship Wrestling and Mid-South. He took center stage in the mid-1990s with Tennessee-based promotion USWA, where Harris was a four-time world champion and engaged in a memorable rivalry with Jerry “The King” Lawler.
Jerry Lawler jumped on Twitter to announce his passing.
Just been told that Kamala has passed away. pic.twitter.com/oBGnezmujn
— Jerry Lawler (@JerryLawler) August 9, 2020
Health issues, including diabetes, led to Harris having his left leg amputated below the knee in November 2011, and his right leg was amputated in April 2012.
Pro wrestlers such as the iconic Canadian legend, Bret “Hitman” Hart, Tazz of ECW fame and the biggest wrestler star ever Hulk Hogan showed their respects to the big man wrestler.
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I’m heartbroken to hear of the passing away of Big Jim Harris, aka Kamala. I met Jim in 1981 in Croydon, close to London England where he was breaking in as The Mississippi Mauler working with Big Daddy Crabtree. I caught up with him 3 years later as Kamala in WWE when he was a terrifying monster heel working on top with Hulk Hogan. Unlike his heel character, he was one of the friendliest, nicest, happy-go-lucky guys I ever knew in pro wrestling. I had the pleasure of working with him in 1992 when I was WWE champion. He was great to work with and I smile at the memories of him laughing so hard at my infamous blackboard drawings. He had a great sense of humour and, like Andre, he’d race into the dressing room to see what my latest cartoon was about. He always had a big smile despite all his challenges, including the loss of both legs. Always a kind and happy gentle soul. I’ll miss him for always being so good to me. R.I.P. Big Jim Harris.
— TAZ (@OfficialTAZ) August 10, 2020
Very sadden by the passing of Big Jim”Kamala”,like everyone else I would always ask if it was ok to take the leg drop for the finish as requested by the office.Jim would always say “let’s just keep making that money”,he was such a kind soul,RIP big brother,only love4U HH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) August 10, 2020