Need Breaking Updates?
Subscribe Now and Receive Breaking Stories directly to your email inbox daily
Thank you for subscribing.
Something went wrong.
WWE legend Eugene (Mean Gene) Okerlund, who entered the Hall of Fame in 2006 after making his mark as the go-to interviewer in the wrestling world, has died. He was 76.
The WWE announced news of his death Wednesday, dubbing him “the most recognizable interviewer in sports-entertainment history.”
Okerlund joined the WWE in 1984 after spending several years interviewing stars such as Jesse (The Body) Ventura and Hulk Hogan with the American Wrestling Association.
As the WWE took off, so did Okerlund’s career, as he continued to make a name for himself by chatting ringside with stars like Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and The Ultimate Warrior.
He served as host of shows like “All-American Wrestling,” “Tuesday Night Titans” and “Wrestling Challenge,” and even sang the national anthem at the very first WrestleMania in 1985.
Okerlund took his talents to the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in the early ‘90s after his contract expired, and there, he served as an interviewer for “WCW Saturday Night.”
By 2001, Okerlund was back with the WWE, and in 2006, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame by Hogan.
That induction was followed in 2009 by his joining the South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association’s Hall of Fame thanks to his work in the late ‘50s with Gene Carroll and the Shades. The group released a single called “Do You Remember” in 1959 that featured Okerlund on vocals.
Okerlund’s cause of death remains unknown, but he underwent kidney transplants in 1995 and 2004.
He was remembered on social media by many of his peers, including Hogan, who wrote, “Mean Gene I love you my brother.”
A voice and soundtrack to an entire era of our industry,” wrote Triple H. “He was the star of some of WWE’s most memorable segments. ‘Mean Gene’ was beloved by all who got to work with him. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”
Added Jim Ross, “So sad today to hear of the sudden passing of my dear friend @TheGeneOkerlund. I just saw Mean Gene in North Carolina at WrestleCade. It’s so true that our tomorrows are never guaranteed. Say hello to Jan, Mean Gene.”