William Myers, better known as George “The Animal” Steele has passed away. Steele has been dealing with health issues and Hulk Hogan sent his love to George Steele via Twitter earlier today.
George"the Animal"Steel,RIP my brother,only love,only grateful. HH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) February 17, 2017
Steele started his wrestling career in Detroit as a means to simply supplement his income and wanted to protect his privacy, therefore he dawned a mask and went as “The Student”, but he would take the mask off and in 1967 was contacted by the WWWF and he began working programs with Bruno Sammartino where his animalistic nature and outlandish personality made him a fan favorite and a formidable opponent for anyone in the ring with him.
He wrestled in famous buildings like Madison Square Garden and Shea Stadium to sell-out crowds, and garnered world-wide fame and recognition due to his unique ring work and promo ability. His career didn’t slow down until he was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and was forced to retire from in-ring action in 1988, but he became a road agent for the next two years until he was let go due to budget cuts.
He appeared in Tim Burton’s genius film, “Ed Wood” where he played Swedish wrestler Tor Johnson with whom he shared a remarkable resemblance. Steele would later joke about playing Johnson because he was often mistaken for the Swedish wrestler-turned-actor throughout his own career in the ring.
Steele had a short run with the Oddities in 1998 and appeared very briefly on WCW television in 2000 as part of an angle where Jeff Jarrett had to face three legends consecutively.
His last appearance on WWE television was on November 15, 2010 where he showed up during a match between Kofi Kingston and David Otunga, but he was never forgotten in the WWE Universe’s minds.
Reports came out that he wasn’t doing well and was in hospice care and he sadly passed away last night at the age of 79-years-old.
Please take a moment today to not only remember The Animal but ponder on how the WWE’s landscape might have been totally different today if William James Myers didn’t need to make some extra money in the 1960s. We will never forget you, George Steele, we hope those turnbuckles taste great in Heaven.