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Vikki LaMotta, 75; Ex-Wife of Prizefighter

February 03, 2005|From Associated Press

Vikki LaMotta, the Bronx, N.Y.-born beauty whose marriage to boxer Jake LaMotta was portrayed in the film "Raging Bull," has died. She was 75.

LaMotta died Jan. 25 at Boca Raton Community Hospital in Florida, about six months after open-heart surgery, said her son Harrison Foster.

In the movie, Robert DeNiro plays the boxer who is obsessed with his young wife, played by Cathy Moriarty, but his obsession drives her away.

Foster said that Jake LaMotta had such trouble adjusting to life outside the ring when he retired in Miami Beach that Vicki, then 26, felt compelled to move out. The couple divorced in 1957.

"It took courage to leave Jake at such a young age with three children," Foster said.

After leaving LaMotta, she lent her name to a cosmetics line, made commercials and appeared on television and at fight arenas. LaMotta also divorced her second husband, Tony Foster.

She posed nude for Playboy magazine in November 1981, when she was 51. At the time, she told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she posed nude to show that life doesn't end at 30.

"I'm getting reaction from women that is so favorable it's just fantastic," she told the newspaper.

Beverly "Vikki" Thailer was born Jan. 23, 1930, in the Bronx. She met LaMotta at a community pool and married him when she was 16.

In addition to her son, she is survived by a daughter, Christi LaMotta; sisters Pat Follini and Phyllis Genovese; brothers Donald Thailer and Joe Francis; and a granddaughter. Two sons, Jake LaMotta Jr. and Joe LaMotta, predeceased her.

No services are planned. Foster suggested that memorial donations in LaMotta's name be made to the Humane Society of the United States, 2100 L St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20037

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