The man who set the standard for interviewers in pro wrestling has sadly asked his last question. WWE reports Hall of Famer Mean Gene Okerlund is dead at age 76.
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. https://t.co/DyPiEiVLoV— WWE (@WWE) January 2, 2019
Eugene Arthur Okerlund was born in South Dakota in 1942, but made his bones in Minnesota - first in television and radio, then with more than a decade as a ring announcer and interviewer for Verne Gagne’s American Wrestling Association. He jumped to the then-WWF in 1984 and became one of the company’s most recognizable non-wrestling (although storylines occassionally put him in the action) personalities during one of its hottest periods.
He would leave WWF for WCW in 1993, working for Vince McMahon’s chief rival throughout the Monday Night War era. Okerlund’s interviews with the top stars of the two most important times in wrestling history cemented him as an iconic figure in the business.
Mean Gene returned to WWE in 2001, first working with recurring foil Bobby Heenan at WrestleMania X-7 before settling into a role as host of shows looking at wrestling’s past in syndication and the company’s on demand channels, along with occassional guest roles on main television programming. In 2006 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and has continued making sporadic appearances on Raw and SmackDown while working on WWE Network shows such as Legends House and WWE Story Time.
Our condolences go out to Okerlunds family, friends and many, many fans.