WWE wrestler George 'The Animal' Steele dies at 79

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WWE Hall of Famer George "The Animal" Steele - best known for his signature body hair and turnbuckle-biting - died Thursday night.

Steele was a devout Christian and lived in Cocoa Beach, Florida, US, with his wife Pat.

His trademark stooped posture, bald head and hairy back was combined with a green tongue (courtesy of breath mints). He remained the wild man but started to act kinder towards kids and became a full-on face in the Hulk Hogan era.

In 1985, however, Steele was embraced by the WWE Universe and changed the course of his career. In the ring, for much of his earlier career, Steele was reviled as one of wrestling's most-hated villains, though outside of the ring, he was mild-mannered and was a high school teacher and football coach in his native state of MI.

Before becoming a full-time wrestler, he was a teacher and wrestling coach at a high school Madison Heights, Mich.

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Steele quickly established himself as one of the most vicious heels (bad guys) in wrestling.

Another great bit came when Lou Albano, Steele's manager, sent The Animal to a hypnotist to cure him.

Steele's in-ring alter ego, "The Animal", who spoke in grunts on camera while portraying an imbecile during his final years, was long a paradox of his true self outside the ring.

He rose to prominence as George "The Animal" Steele in the East Coast's World Wrestling Federation, but made several appearances in Detroit during Big Time Wrestling's heyday in the 1970s and '80s at Cobo Arena. He'd actively wrestle for the company for over 20 years until 1988, retiring due to Crohn's disease complications.

He also has a brief turn in Hollywood, playing a wrestler-turned-actor in Tim Burton's 1994 film, Ed Wood.

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