We have some sad news to report this morning. WWE is reporting that Hall of Fame announcer ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund has passed away at the age of 76.
Okerlund was considered by many to be the greatest interviewer of all time, speaking with the likes of many legends in the business during his time in WWE and WCW. You can see a clip of one of his many interviews with Ric Flair below:
In his early days, “Mean Gene”, as he was named by fellow Minnesotan, Jesse “The Body” Ventura first came to prominence by interviewing the greatest stars of the AWA, including Ventura, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and Hulk Hogan. In 1984, Okerlund made the move to WWE where he became a staple on national cable television by continuing to interview the biggest names in sports-entertainment like Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior and many more.
Okerlund branched out from interviewing by providing ringside commentary and hosting several shows, including All-American Wrestling, Tuesday Night Titans, Wrestling Challenge and Prime Time Wrestling. Announcing wasn’t all that Okerlund could do with a microphone, as his distinct voice sung the National Anthem at the first WrestleMania in 1985. Later that year, Okerlund would sing “Tutti Frutti” on WWE’s The Wrestling Album.
In 1993, Okerlund joined WCW as lead interviewer where he continued to interview many of the legends he had worked with in the AWA and WWE as well as WCW stalwarts, Sting, Diamond Dallas Page, Goldberg and others.
In 2001, Okerlund returned to WWE to call the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania 17 along with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and continued to appear on WWE television programming, including being a cast member on WWE Network’s Legends’ House.
We at Wrestling Rumors extend our deepest condolences to the Okerlund family during this difficult time.
I had the opportunity to meet him at WrestleMania 34 in a hotel bar in New Orleans, a few hours before the show. He invited me and my brother to watch the Masters with him for a little bit and just chat; he was one of the most genuine and caring wrestling celebrities that I had ever met. He will be sorely missed!
What is your favorite moment of ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund? Leave us a comment below, or post a comment on our Facebook page! Also, be sure to sign up for our newsletter and download our App from your favorite App Store!