Cops: Wrestling publicist Scott Epstein killed in East Rockaway crash

An Oceanside man, 64, was killed early Friday when his vehicle struck a tree at an East Rockaway intersection, Nassau police said. Videojournalist: Jim Staubitser (Dec. 27, 2013)

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An Oceanside man who worked as a publicist and agent for some of pro wrestling's biggest stars died early Friday in a single-car crash in East Rockaway, police and friends said.

Scott Epstein, 64, was driving west on Main Street at about 1:20 a.m. when he struck a tree in front of 269 Waverly Ave., according to Nassau police. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police did not provide further details about the crash.

Epstein had a career as a teacher and assistant principal for New York City public schools for more than 30 years, but he was best known for his work in pro wrestling, spanning four decades. He was introduced to the business through bodybuilding magazines published by his late father-in-law, Dan Lurie.

Epstein went on to work as a writer and photographer for wrestling magazines, and as a publicist for some of pro wrestling's biggest names, including former world heavyweight champion "Superstar" Billy Graham. With his signature shaved head and thick mustache, Epstein became a staple at wrestling events and autograph signings.

"At virtually every convention throughout the country, he would book talent," said Evan Ginzburg, a fellow wrestling publicist and close friend of Epstein. "He loved being around it."

Wrestling writer and photographer Bill Apter, of 1Wrestling.com, said Epstein's staying power was a testament to his willingness to adapt to the many changes pro wrestling underwent since the 1970s. At the time of his death, his client list included stars of the past and young talent on the rise.

"I don't know how much money he made in the wrestling business, but in his mind he was in the wrestling business full time," Apter said. "And in our minds, he was, too."

Fellow wrestling publicist Bobby Riedel said Epstein was a loving husband to his wife, Ash Mills-Epstein, and a devoted father. The past year had been tough on Epstein, who was forced to relocate from his Long Beach home because of superstorm Sandy, Riedel said.

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