The charming wrestler known for having a green tongue, body hair, and eating the material out of turnbuckles, George ” The Animal” Steele, has died at 79.
Born in 1937 as William James Myers, the prospective WWE Hall of Famer was planning on launching his football career. However, his career was cut short because of his knee problems. The injury brought him to the wrestling rings in Detroit, where he began his career as “The Student.”
His rare talent caught the attention of wrestler Bruno Sammartino, who convinced Steele to take on a manic wild man persona, defining his career for decades.
Steele stood out amongst other wrestlers with his bald head and green tongue, so much that no other wrestler could resemble him. By the early 1980’s celebrities like Steele, who are great for TV audiences, were in high demand. Fans would anticipate Steele undoing the turnbuckle, sending stuffing through the air as if he were eating it.
Steele may not have been the most talented wrestler, but he did make every match memorable.
In 1988 Steele originally retired because of Crohn’s disease. However, for a short period in 1998, he came out of retirement during the WWE’s “Attitude Era” before his career began winding down.
He would still make an appearance at promotions such as TNA and WCW. Movie fans remember his appearance as Tor Johnson in the 1994 movie Ed Wood.
While the cause of his death is still unknown, Steele suffered medical problems brought on by Crohn’s.
The wrestling community quickly took to social media to pay tribute and give condolences. John Bradshaw Layfield mentioned he was privileged to travel the world with Steele and enjoyed every minute. Ted DiBiase also said on social media that the wrestling community lost one their best. He also said that he lost a good friend. Prayers to his family and RIP George “The Animal” Steele.