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R.I.P. Hall of Fame Wrestler George “The Animal” Steele Has Died

Growing up, my favorite wrestlers tended to be the ones who looked most like villains from horror movies, and George “The Animal” Steele most certainly fit that bill. With his green tongue, impossibly hairy body, and eye-catching penchant for literally eating turnbuckles and carrying around a pet monster he called Mine, Steele was one of the most lovable monsters to ever grace the squared circle. We’re saddened to report today that the 1995 WWE Hall of Fame inductee, born William James Myers, has passed away at the age of 79.

Often referred to as “The Missing Link” by wrestling announcers, George “The Animal” Steele was truly a one-of-a-kind attraction, embodying the World Wrestling Federation’s “sports entertainment” initiative. He began his career as a villain, but it didn’t take long for Myers’ natural likability to shine through. Steele quickly became a fan-favorite wrestler through the mid-late 1980s, memorably engaging in a feud with “Macho Man” Randy Savage that resulted in an Intercontinental Title match between the two at 1986’s marquee event, WrestleMania 2.

It was a bizarre but incredibly entertaining match, to say the least.

Outside the ring, Steele made his acting debut in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, which saw him play Plan 9 From Outer Space actor Tor Johnson. Steele, who looked remarkably similar to Johnson, was perfectly cast in the role, and he showed that his acting chops extended beyond the pro wrestling business. He subsequently appeared in the films Blowfish, South of Heaven and Boston Girls.

William James Myers is survived by his wife Patricia Randolph and their three children.


6 Comments
  • Creepshow

    He was also a school teacher.

  • Matt

    I have very fond memories of watching the WWF in the 80’s, and Mr. Steele never failed to entertain. RIP, you are now back in the company of all your peers who have gone before you. Best wishes to his family and friends.

    • I have similar fond childhood memories too – my dad & I loved his character. His intervention in the Intercontinental title match between Savage & Steamboat at Wrestlemania is my most vivid memory. We’re losing all our childhood heroes. Sadly that is life. RIP.

  • Geno1987

    He was too large for one life to handle.

  • Fred Hopkins

    As a kid I remember being scared of him because when he was in NWA or Georgia Championship Wrestling he had an arm lock on a guy. I’m not sure if the guy was double jointed or what but his arm was bent in an unnatural position and the announcers were like OH MY GOD look at his arm and I remember freaking out. It did not look good.

  • Fracassi

    I was going to post that he looked like Tor Johnson, but then I read the article. I will have to re-watch Ed Wood.

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