Pro wrestling legend George “The Animal” Steele passed away Thursday night at the age of 79. His passing was a result of kidney failure.
Steele, whose real name was William James Myers, had a two-decade career in the ring, including stints in the NWA, NWF, WCW, and the WWF. He was known as a crazy heel, a gimmick that included acting like a wild man in the ring and tearing open the top turnbuckle with his teeth and using the stuffing at a weapon. His trademark green tongue and thick back hair also helped his “Animal” image. The gimmick eventually endeared crowds, and he become a fan favorite.
He had high profile matches against some of the biggest names in the business, including Rickey Steamboat and Macho Man Randy Savage. Steele retired in 1988 due to diagnosis of Crohn’s disease, but remained with the WWE for a couple more years as a road agent. He never won a WWF championship belt of any kind, but remained a fan favourite and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995.