RIP, George “The Animal” Steele

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WWEWWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer William James Myers, known to fans as George “The Animal” Steele has passed away at the age of 79.

Steele was one of the wildest and most unpredictable Superstars in sports-entertainment history. Yet, despite his green tongue, hairy torso and insatiable appetite for turnbuckle pads, “The Animal” was a very well-educated man. Prior to breaking into sports-entertainment, Steele received his Master’s Degree from Central Michigan University and became a high school teacher and wrestling coach in the Detroit area. …

For nearly 20 years, Steele was a reviled villain, managed by the likes of fellow Hall of Famers The Grand Wizard, “Classy” Freddie Blassie, Capt. Lou Albano and Mr. Fuji. His classic main events with Sammartino, Pedro Morales and Bob Backlund saw him come close to winning the WWE Championship on many occasions.

In 1985, however, Steele was embraced by the WWE Universe and changed the course of his career. After The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff abandoned him during a match, Steele fell back under the tutelage of the then-beloved Albano. His transformation was remarkable, as one of the most hated men in the sport became one of its most loveable figures. Long after his in-ring retirement and WWE Hall of Fame induction, George “The Animal” Steele’s name still evoked terror for one generation of WWE fans and warm smiles for another.

It’s with a heavy heart that I blog this sad news. George “The Animal” was a true original. If you weren’t blessed see him wrestle, no explanation will do. If you were, none is necessary. He was a drooling, green-tongued, hairy-backed, turnbuckle-eating force of nature. He was rage turned flesh. He was … well, an Animal. From his unforgettable ring persona to the dichotomy of the reports that when he wasn’t in the tights he was a high school principal to his star turn opposite Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s “Ed Wood. I’m a big Martin Landau guy, but the Best Supporting Actor Oscar he won for that film went to the wrong guy. Steele was unlike any other creature, human or animal, to ever walk the Earth.

2017 is already worse for celebrity deaths than 2016 ever thought of being. Goodnight, sweet prince. This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.

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