(CelebrityAccess) “Mean” Gene Okerlund, 76, best known as playing the straight man in the over-the-top interviews with the personalities of the World Wrestling Federation in the 1980s, has died, according to an announcement from the WWE.
Details of Okerlund’s death are not yet known but he had two kidney transplants, one in 1995 and another in 2004. Many of his former cohorts, such as wrestlers The Iron Sheik (Hossein Vaziri), Hulk Hogan and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and referee Charles Robinson, have already expressed their sympathies.
“A voice and sound track to an entire era of our industry. He was the star of some of @WWE’s most memorable segments,” WWE Executive Vice President Paul Levesque, tweeted. “’Mean Gene’ was beloved by all who got to work with him. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”
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
Okerlund not only called the shots during wrestling matches but was one-half of some of the legendary interviews with WWF stars, with the “cream rising to the top” / Randy “Macho Man” Savage interview surviving into the internet era.