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.