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The LDS Convert Whose Tragic Story Was Turned Into a Movie Nominated for 5 Academy Awards

Editor's Note: LDS Living is in no way endorsing this movie. We are merely discussing the fact that it tells a compelling true story about an LDS man.

Nominated for three Golden Globes (Best Movie, Best Actor,  Best Supporting Actor) and five Academy Awards (Best Actor,  Best Supporting Actor,  Best Director, Best Screenplay,  Best Hair and Makeup), not many would have guessed the critically acclaimed (and R-rated) 2014 film Foxcatcher had close ties to an LDS Olympian and convert.

 In fact, the movie captures one of the most tragic moments in Latter-day Saint Mark Schultz's life. 

“One of the greatest, if not the greatest, all-around athletes that has ever participated in the sport of wrestling. As wrestling machines go, his design is close to perfect."

That's how 16-time National Wrestling Champion Wayne Baughman described Mark Schultz. Born October 26, 1960, in Pala Alto, California, Schultz was the second son born to Dorothy and Philip Schultz. His older brother, Dave, was just 17 months older than him.

Growing up, Schultz was an all-around athlete, setting 20 school records. As a sophomore in high school, he became the Northern California All-Around Gymnastics Champion. However, Schultz followed in his big brother's footsteps, taking up wrestling in his junior year.

Though his brother, Dave, won the state, national, and international titles in his senior year, Mark had a mediocre first year of wrestling. However, Shultz's skill improved, and as a senior he won the state title.

In college, Dave and Mark teamed up together to train which greatly improved Mark's skill, allowing him to win three NCAA Championships. The Schultz brothers became the most-winning brother combination in American history when it came to NCAA, US Open, World, and Olympic titles. They also became the only American brothers to win World Championship and Olympic gold medals.

Dave won the 1983 World Championship and brought home an Olympic gold medal for the 1984 Games. Mark won his Olympic gold the same year, 1984, and the World Championships in 1985 and 1987. He retired from wrestling after placing sixth in the 1988 Olympic Games.

In 1991, March Schultz began working as BYU's assistant wrestling coach and became a convert to the LDS Church.

Then, suddenly, while training for a second Olympic bid in 1996, Dave Schultz was murdered by John E. Du Pont in his home at Foxcatcher Farm. 

At the time, Mark was the head coach of Brigham Young University's wrestling team. And just four months after Dave's death, Mark competed in the Ultimate Fighting Competition IX, winning $50,000 and the competition. 

The emotional and exciting details of Mark Schultz's life caught the attention of Director Bennett Miller, who captured it in the film Foxcatcher starring Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz, Mark Ruffalo as Dave, and Steve Carell as John E. Du Pont.

Lead image of Mark Schultz at the 87th Academy Awards from Getty Images.