THE MAESTRO

Rob Kellum has been entertaining people his entire life. On the stage, on television or film, or in professional wrestling, his presence has gained him much attention and notoriety. Currently, Rob appears in Dusk Series as the Chief. He also has a leading role as Dr. Jeremiah Arkham in the film The Devil’s Daughter, which is currently in production and due out in October of this year.

Over the years, Rob has appeared in several shows and movies such as The Rack Pack, Check Point, The Son of Clowns, One Tree Hill, and Sleepy Hollow to name a few. Rob fell in love with the stage at a young age. If there was a performance in the community, at school, or in the church theater group, the chance of finding Rob acting or singing was a safe bet.

“I love the interaction I get from the crowd,” Kellum said. “There is no other high in the world that can do justice like the emotional connection I have with an audience when I perform.”

Rob was born into a military family and because of it, he moved around the country quite often. His family lived in many states such as Texas, Missouri, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. From a very young age Rob also became a huge fan of professional wrestling and lucky for him; wherever he went local wrestling was available for his viewing pleasure.

Rob attended the live wrestling events whenever possible and his outgoing personality was a big part of his connecting with the wrestlers there. Rob stuck up a friendship with Ivan Koloff, Rocky Johnson, Black Jack Mulligan, and Bruiser Brody. It wasn’t long before Rob was bit by the wrestling bug himself and he began his training.

“Acting has helped me with the wrestling and the wrestling has helped me in the film business,” Kellum explained. “I try to make each scene and match better by focusing on the details.”

Whether you know Rob as Robbie Eagle, Gorgeous George III, the Maestro, or Papa Stro, it’s hard to take your eyes off of him while he is inside the squared circle. His charisma and antics draw the audience in whether he is in the ring or on a stage.

Professional wrestling may be a passion of Rob’s, but some might say the sport runs in his blood. It wasn’t until later in life that Rob found out he was the great-nephew of George Wagner, the original Gorgeous George. George became a household name in the 1940s and 50s in pro wrestling with his outrageous and flamboyant display of character. He was known for wearing an outlandish robe, and a valet who held a mirror and sprayed perfume for him as he entered the ring to wrestle.

Fellow wrestlers like William Regal and Dusty Rhodes repeatedly pointed out similar characteristics Rob shared with George. As time passed, those interactions with his colleges persuaded him to talk to his Grandfather.

“I went to him and asked him what he knew about Gorgeous George,” Kellum continued. “He said to me, you didn’t know? And that was when he smartened me up of who my uncle was.”

That discovery inspired Rob to take on the name Gorgeous George III early on in his career. For nearly four years Rob carried the gimmick well in wrestling promotions such as USWA, Southern Championship Wrestling, World Wrestling Council, Triple-A, and WCW. Not only did he have primped-up hair, a fancy robe, a mirror in hand, the spraying of perfume, but he also had the attitude that came with the Gorgeous George character.

It was at WCW where Rob had a change in his character when he began wrestling under the name of the Maestro. As the Maestro, he gained a valet named Symphony and carried a baton which is a conducting stick, but he didn’t lose his pompous attitude. The Maestro had regularly scheduled matches on Monday Night Nitro and WCW Thunder. During that time of his career, he feuded with the likes of Evan Karagias, Ernie Miller, David Flair, and Buff Bagwell.

“On any given night you could be in the ring with Randy Savage, Ric Flair, or Rey Mysterio,” Kellum recalled. “It was the best of the best from all over the world coming together at one point. It was an awesome experience.”

Rob discovered that the study of psychology was a big help when dealing with wrestling fans. Understanding how to provoke an array of emotions in the people who watched him on stage or in the ring became vital to him as a performer. Every single time Rob stepped out in front of a crowd no matter who the character was, he drew from his acting skills and his knowledge of psychology.

‘When you learn how to tap into people’s emotions it becomes a very powerful tool,” Kellum stated. “It doesn’t matter if they love you or hate you, they will follow you to the end of the earth. It is a magical thing.”

Today, at the age of 48, Rob is still wrestling inside the ring. Since he’s not currently under an exclusive contract with a promotion he can be seen working for UPWA and XXW in the Carolina’s along with a few other independent companies. And because he has three decades of the wrestling business behind him, Rob does voiceover and commentary work as well.

“It’s a great place to be. By being multifaceted it gives me more freedom,” Kellum said. “I think it’s great for me to have experience with different things in the business because it allows me to have a better appreciation for it all.”

Throughout Rob’s wrestling career which has lasted more than 30 years, many top stars have influenced him. If it was advice about his gimmick, how to do something better or to get a bigger reaction from the crowd, the list is endless. Men like Lou Thesz, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Jake Roberts, Wahoo McDaniel, Jim Cornette, and Nelson Royal have all instructed Rob which has led him to success.

“The common denominator from all these guys has been you can never stop learning,” Kellum affirmed. “I have always wanted to be a better wrestler and because of those men, I have been.”

 

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