Kelmer was born to a Jewish family in Żychlin, Poland in 1905. His father was a coal-seller. Kelmer had 15 older brothers and sisters, some of whom perished in the Holocaust. In 1923, he emigrated to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and later moved to New York City in the United States.
According to the Canadian Online Explorer's Greg Oliver, there is debate regarding Kelmer's debut in professional wrestling. In 1929, local promoter Rudy Miller offered Coleman $25 to wrestle after seeing him work out in a Brooklyn gym. Despite this, an "Abe Coleman" wrestled to a draw with George Deslonchamps on March 19, 1928, at Madison Square Garden, but it is unknown if it was Kelmer or another wrestler with the same ring name.
Coleman is also credited with the invention of the dropkick, claiming the move was inspired by kangaroos he saw on a tour of Australia in 1930.
Coleman was never a champion, but was regarded as a solid midcard worker. In the 1930s, Coleman defeated Jim Londos in a match in a Mexico City bullring in front of 60,000 spectators. During a 1936 match against Man Mountain Dean in front of 36,000 people, Coleman slammed Dean to the ground, breaking the ring mat and dropping the pair down to the arena floor.
Following his retirement from active in-ring competition, Coleman became a professional wrestling referee. He also promoted several wrestling shows with Bill Johnston.
Following his retirement from wrestling, Kelmer inspected license plates for the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.
Kelmer met June Miller in 1936, stating he met her in Madison Square Garden when he landed in her lap after being thrown from the ring. They married three years later in 1939. The couple had no children, and Miller died in 1987. Kelmer lived in Forest Hills, New York. It was in Forest Hills that Kelmer subdued two attempted muggers when he was in his 80s.
Outside of wrestling, Kelmer's interests included poker and horse racing.
In his final years, Kelmer was confined to a wheelchair and lived at the Meadow Park Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Flushing, New York. Kelmer died on March 28, 2007, in a nursing home in Queens, New York, of kidney failure.Finishing moves
Running dropkick – innovated
Cauliflower Alley Club
Other honoree (1995)
Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum
Class of 2012 (Pioneer category)