Mean Gene Okerlund, who every able bodied man older than 30 will remember as the voice of their childhood, has passed away. My fondest Mean Gene memory was that one time I had a Mean Gene burger at the Sioux Falls airport. RIP to a great restaurateur.
WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of FamerGene Okerlund, the most recognizable interviewer in sports-entertainment history, has passed away at age 76.
“Mean Gene”, as he was named by fellow Minnesotan,Jesse “The Body” Ventura, first came to prominence as an interviewer in the American Wrestling Association. In 1984, Okerlund made the move to WWE where he became as recognizable as the Superstars he asked the tough questions to, including“Macho Man” Randy Savage,The Ultimate Warriorand, perhaps Okerlund’s greatest guest,Hulk Hogan. Countless Hulkster interviews included the indelible phrase, “Well you know something ‘Mean’ Gene!”
As the respected and reliable man behind the microphone in WWE, Okerlund branched out from interviewing and provided ringside commentary and hosted several shows, including All-American Wrestling, Tuesday Night Titans, Wrestling Challenge and Prime Time Wrestling.
Announcing wasn’t all that Okerlund could do with a microphone, as he performed the National Anthem at the first WrestleMania in 1985. Later that year, Okerlund would sing “Tutti Frutti” on WWE’s The Wrestling Album.
Okerlund returned to WWE in 2001 to call theGimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania 17along with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and continued to appear on WWE television programming, including as a cast member onWWE Network’s Legends’ House.
WWE extends its condolences to Okerlund’s family, friends and fans.