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WWE Hall of Famer 'Mean' Gene Okerlund Dies at Age 76

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2019

Photo credit: WWE.com.

Legendary WWE interviewer "Mean" Gene Okerlund has died at the age of 76, WWE.com announced Wednesday.

Okerlund joined WWE in 1984 after spending nearly 15 years in the AWA. He remained with WWE from 1984-1993 and then worked for WCW from 1993-2001 and became the most notable interviewer in professional wrestling history in the process.

His contributions were celebrated in 2006 when he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

After WWE bought WCW in 2001, Okerlund returned to the company as a jack of all trades and announced the gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania X-Seven alongside fellow Hall of Famer Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.

While he didn't appear regularly on weekly programming, Okerlund showed up sporadically and acted as a host and narrator for many WWE side projects, including DVDs and WWE Network content.

More recently, Okerlund was among the stars on the WWE Network reality series Legends' House, which aired in 2014 and featured other WWE Hall of Famers, including "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan.

In January, Okerlund made a special appearance on the 25th anniversary edition of Raw and interviewed AJ Styles.

Several current and former Superstars paid homage to Okerlund on Twitter, including Triple H, The Iron Sheik and Big E:

Triple H @TripleH

A voice and sound track to an entire era of our industry. He was the star of some of @WWE’s most memorable segments. “Mean Gene” was beloved by all who got to work with him. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. https://t.co/9ddj6372eE

The Iron Sheik @the_ironsheik

RIP MY BROTHER GENE MEAN. YOU PUT ME OVER LIKE NOBODY. I LOVE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY SINCE THE MINNESOTA. GIVE MY BROTHER NIKOLAI BUG HUG. GOD BLESS YOU. CAMERA MAN ZOOM IT. https://t.co/5k0VRXbKMI

Florida Man @WWEBigE

Mean Gene was the voice of millions of childhoods. Mine certainly. An honor to meet him. Condolences to his family. https://t.co/krsMtbeNIl

The South Dakota native will be remembered for several unique traits, including his signature mustache, horseshoe-pattern hair and velvety voice.

He also notably had remarkable chemistry with Hulk Hogan, who started each interview with Okerlund by uttering the famous phrase, "Let me tell you something, Mean Gene."

Hogan also offered some kind words following Okerlund's death:

Hulk Hogan @HulkHogan

Mean Gene I love you my brother HH

Mean Gene was present throughout the rise of Hulkamania in WWE, and he was an underrated aspect of Hogan's enormous success.

Few non-wrestlers have made an impact on the business as big and long-lasting as Okerlund's, and there will likely never be another backstage interviewer as beloved and appreciated as him.

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