WWE Editor @jeffersonlake
WWE great 'Mean' Gene Okerlund dies aged 76
Last Updated: 02/01/19 6:05pm
Legendary former WWE interviewer 'Mean' Gene Okerlund has died at the age of 76, the company has confirmed.
Okerlund was a dominant presence during the then-WWF's glorious mid-to-late-1980s period, where he was frequently seen on-screen alongside Hulk Hogan, who would always refer to him as "mean Gene".
Hogan was the first to pay tribute to Okerlund, writing on Twitter: "Mean Gene I love you my brother HH."
It was Jesse "The Body" Ventura who first christened him "mean Gene" during his rise to prominence interviewing the greatest stars of the American Wrestling Assocation.
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.
"WWE extends its condolences to Okerlund's family, friends and fans," the company commented.