"Mean" Gene Okerlund, WWE Hall of Famer, is dead at 76
By Andrea Park
/ CBS News
WWE Hall of Famer "Mean" Gene Okerlund, who for years interviewed wrestling icons from Hulk Hogan to the Iron Sheikh, has died. He was 76.
WWE said in a statement that it is "saddened" to learn about the announcer and host's death, and extended its condolences to his family, friends and fans. No further details were provided about his death.
Okerlund got his "Mean Gene" moniker from fellow Minnesotan Jesse Ventura. He first made his name by doing interviews for the American Wrestling Association before he moved to the WWE in 1984. Okerlund was known for his "tough questions," says the WWE, and his interviews with WWE superstars, especially Hogan.
Hogan, who was known for saying to Okerlund, "Well you know something, 'Mean' Gene!" paid tribute to him on Twitter, saying, "Mean Gene I love you my brother."
As Okerlund's star rose, he started to provide ringside commentary and host shows, including "All-American Wrestling," "Tuesday Night Titans," "Wrestling Challenge" and "Prime Time Wrestling." He even sang the National Anthem at the first WrestleMania in 1985.
Okerlund left the WWE in 1993 for the WCW before returning to the WWE in 2001. He marked his return by calling the "Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania 17." Recently, Okerlund appeared on "Raw 25," which celebrated the 25th anniversary of "WWE Raw." Okerlund was also a cast member on WWE Networks' "Legends' House."
WWE stars, past and present, remembered Okerlund on social media.
First published on January 2, 2019
© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Andrea is an entertainment producer at CBSNews.com
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