Legendary WWE and WCW interviewer "Mean" Gene Okerlund has died. He was 76.
"WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Gene Okerlund, the most recognizable interviewer in sports-entertainment history, has passed away," the pro-wrestling promotion said on Wednesday. "WWE extends its condolences to Okerlund's family, friends and fans."
Okerlund got his start with the American Wrestling Association, where interviewed the likes of Jesse “The Body” Ventura — who gave him his “Mean Gene” moniker — Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and Hogan. Okerlund became a staple on national cable TV after he made the move to the WWE, where he had notable interviews with “Macho Man” Randy Savage and The Ultimate Warrior, among many others.
He sung the National Anthem during the first-ever Wrestlemania in 1985.
Okerlund later moved to doing ringside commentary and hosting shows including “All-American Wrestling,” “Tuesday Night Titans,” “Wrestling Challenge” and “Prime Time Wrestling.” He moved over to World Championship Wrestling in 1993 where he again served as lead interviewer, until he returned to WWE after it was bought WCW in 2001.
Shortly after the news of Okerlund’s passing, many in the WWE world including Hogan and fellow WWE broadcaster Jim Ross, offered their condolences and remembrances.