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Former World Heavyweight Champion Alexis Smirnoff Passes Away At 71-Years Old

Former IWA World Heavyweight Champion Alexis Smirnoff Passes Away At 71-Years Old

Canadian wrestling historian and writer Pat LaPrade sent word that Michel Lamarche, who was known as anti-American villain Alexis Smirnoff in the United States and as Michel “The Judge” Dubois in Canada (specifically Montreal) passed away this afternoon at the age of 71.

Lamarche had been dealing with complications from diabetes in recent years, including a leg amputation and had recently entered hospice due to kidney problems.

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In the United States, Lamarche was considered a very good wrestler by his peers and worked a number of different territories, having great success in San Francisco, where he ran Pat Patterson out of town, winning that area’s version of the NWA United States Title as well as their version of the World Tag Team Championship with Bob Roop. He teamed with Ivan Koloff in several areas, including Georgia and Florida and also held the Central States Heavyweight Championship.

Lamarche appeared in St. Louis, Mid-South and other territories as well. During the tail end of his career in the late ’80s, Smirnoff regularly worked West Coast-based WWF events and also made appearances for the AWA.

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Internationally, Lamarche toured Japan for the IWE and All Japan Pro Wrestling Japan. He was well known as a villain in Montreal. Trained originally by Edouard Carpentier, Lamarche feuded with Johnny Rougeau, Abdullah the Butcher, The Sheik, and Mad Dog Vachon, among others. Pat LaPrade penned a long piece on Lamarche’s life and career for TVA Sports in Canada, which you can read at this link.

After retiring, Lamarche opened a wrestling school in San Francisco and appeared in a number of movies and TV series.

On behalf of everyone at, we’d like to express our deepest condolences to the family, friends and fans of Michel Lamarche.