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.
WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Gene Okerlund, the most recognizable interviewer in sports-entertainment history, has passed away at age 76. https://t.co/DyPiEiVLoV
— WWE (@WWE) January 2, 2019
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.
A voice and sound track to an entire era of our industry. He was the star of some of @WWE’s most memorable segments. “Mean Gene” was beloved by all who got to work with him. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. https://t.co/9ddj6372eE
— Triple H (@TripleH) January 2, 2019
Devastated to hear the news of my friend Gene Okerlund’s passing. He was, and will always be, pro wrestling greatest stick man #meangene
— Tony Schiavone (@tonyschiavone24) January 2, 2019
RIP MY BROTHER GENE MEAN. YOU PUT ME OVER LIKE NOBODY. I LOVE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY SINCE THE MINNESOTA. GIVE MY BROTHER NIKOLAI BUG HUG. GOD BLESS YOU. CAMERA MAN ZOOM IT. pic.twitter.com/5k0VRXbKMI
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) January 2, 2019
Mean Gene was the voice of millions of childhoods. Mine certainly. An honor to meet him. Condolences to his family. pic.twitter.com/krsMtbeNIl
— Florida Man (@WWEBigE) January 2, 2019
RIP “Mean” Gene. Thanks for the memories and being a Gentleman.
God Bless. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/AJn3HsY7Am
— Bully Ray (@bullyray5150) January 2, 2019