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Details on the Passing of WWE Icon 'Mean' Gene Okerlund

Details on the Passing of WWE Icon 'Mean' Gene Okerlund”

"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".

He was the guy that was trusted to make sure that interviews stayed on track, especially with wrestlers that weren't so good on promos.

Okerlund moved from the WWE to World Championship Wrestling in 1993, acting as lead interviewer and getting back into the ring two more times. He passed at a hospital in Sarasota, Florida with his wife Jeanne by his side. While he first became known in the American Wrestling Association, it was his role as the backstage interviewer in the World Wrestling Federation in the mid-1980s that grew his fame.

Gene Okerlund joined the WWE in 1984 as a regular correspondent, In addition to interviewing, he also spent his career providing ringside commentary, as well as hosting several WWE events.

Okerlund was a legend in the wrestling world who was beloved by both the wrestlers and fans. As incredible as it was, I think one big thing about it that is often overlooked is how important it was that it would be Mean Gene to be the one who interviewed them for it.

"He's like a carnival barker ..." And he never did retakes. He sang "Tutti Frutti" later that year on the WWF's "The Wrestling Album".

"He really was the ultimate, the consummate entertainer", his son, Tor Okerlund, told The Associated Press on January 3.

In a 2015 interview with the Star Tribune, Okerlund credited the late pro wrestling pioneer Verne Gagne for his start.

Okerlund worked in sales at the television station where Gagne's AWA was based and had experience in radio.

"Jesse said something about once serving as the bodyguard for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and I said, 'Tom Petty, that's a pretty big name.' Jesse didn't miss a beat and responded, 'You don't even know who Tom Petty is!' I corrected him and said, 'I certainly do, Jesse, he is the famous race auto driver'. That's all you need.' There were a few bucks involved, so I dived in", Okerlund said.



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