“Mean” Gene Okerlund Passes Away at Age 76

He’s arguably the most iconic backstage interviewer in the history of pro wrestling. During the 1980s, he was one of the voices of the WWF during the Rock N’ Wrestling Era and WCW during the Monday Night Wars of the 1990s. WWE announced today that “Mean” Gene Okerlund passed away today at the age of 76.

A former radio disc jockey, Gene Okerlund joined the American Wrestling Alliance (AWA) in 1970 as a fill-in interviewer, becoming one of the AWA’s most recognizable presenters by the end of the decade. It was while in the AWA that he was first given his “Mean Gene” tag, bestowed upon him by Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

In 1983, Okerlund departed the AWA for the WWF, where he became a house hold star and one of the biggest on-screen fans of WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan. His interviews with WWF Superstars were always fun moments and Okerlund’s genuine performances and interactions were endearing to the WWE Universe.

In 1993, Okerlund jumped ship to World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where he remained until WCW’s closure in 2001. He returned to the WWE family shortly after, working sporadically for special events ever since. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.