In a post this morning on WWE.com, the company announced that WWE Hall of Famer George “The Animal” Steele (real name William James Myers) passed away. He was 79 years old and it recently was reported that he was suffering from poor health.
Steele’s character was that of an animal, famously chewing on turnbuckle pads, having a green tongue, and speaking in sometimes unintelligible ways. However outside of the ring, “The Animal” was actually an extremely intelligent man. He graduated from Central Michigan University with a master’s degree in education, taught high school and served as a wrestling coach in Detroit.
Steele broke into wrestling in the Detroit market, working with independent promotions before getting his break in WWE in 1967. He feuded with Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, and Bob Backlund through the years as a reviled villain. In 1985, Steele was teaming with Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff in a match only to be abandoned, which turned him babyface. Through the years, he worked with managers like Captain Lou Albano, Mr. Fuji, and Classy Freddie Blassie among others.
We extend our condolences to the family, friends and fans of George “The Animal” Steele.