To wrestling fans he was known as George “The Animal” Steele. The Hall of Famer died February 17 in Cocoa Beach, Florida at the age of 79. No specific cause of death has been listed, but Steele had been dealing with Crohn’s Disease for a number of years.
He was a hated villain in the WWE for over 20 years who was known for his hairy back and green tongue. While other wrestler’s had a signature move in the ring, Steele’s signature was eating – or at least appearing to eat – the padding in the corner’s of the ring.
After his retirement from the wrestling ring, Steele turned his talents to becoming a motivational speaker and advocate for Crohn’s disease.
He was born William James Myers on April 16, 1937 in Madison Heights, Michigan. Despite his dyslexia, Myers earned a Master’s degree and taught high school in Detroit before entering the wrestling ring. He continued to teach..and coach football, wrestling, and track…long after becoming famous in the wrestling ring.
Along with his numerous television appearances as a professional wrestler, Steele also appeared in some film and television productions including the award winning film “Ed Wood” as wrestler Tor Johnson, “Blowfish”, “Small Town Conspiracy”, “South of Heaven” and “Boston Girls”.
Along with his induction into the WWE and Professional Wrestling Halls of Fame, Steele is also a member of the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame. The Madison Heights football field is named Jim Myers Stadium.
He is survived by his wife of over 60 years Patricia. The couple had three children but information about survivors is not available.
photos courtesy of By swiftwj – http://www.flickr.com/photos/swiftwj/3512048508/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12449085
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