Wrestling Legend Passes Away

WWE Hall of Famer and 2004 CAC honoree George “The Animal” Steele has passed away at the age of 79.

Wrestling agent Eric Simms noted on Facebook on Thursday that Steele had entered hospice care and that it wasn’t looking good for him. WWE Hall of Famer Bob Backlund also noted on Facebook earlier this week that Steele was not at home when he called, and that Steele’s wife informed Backlund that he may not be coming back home this time, indicating that he was under hospice care. Steele reportedly passed away last night.

Here is Greg Oliver’s and Steve Johnson’s excellent write-up on the life and career of George “The Animal” Steele:

The passing today of George “The Animal” Steele at age 79 did not come as a surprise. Word circulated quickly earlier this week that he had been moved to hospice care and did not have much time left. What is surprising to a lot of people is to learn the true story of Jim Myers, the man who became “The Animal.”

Myers was born April 16, 1937 in Detroit, Michigan, and was a good amateur wrestler and football player growing up in Madison Heights, Michigan. He also excelled at baseball, basketball and track. Knee problems prevented his days as a Spartan on the gridiron at Michigan State University from taking off, so he turned to teaching and coaching football and wrestling at Madison High School in Madison Heights, Michigan — and he’d eventually end up in the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame and the Michigan High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame.

When Steele first entered pro wrestling, no one knew what he looked like. He started as the masked Student in the Detroit area around 1962. The disguise helped him hide his real identity of Jim Myers, local schoolteacher and coach, while he worked out with Gino Brito and other wrestlers. “There was Jim ‘The Brute’ Bernard, George Steele — Jim Myers then — George Cannon, myself, Tony Parisi, a couple of others,” Brito recalled. “It was an old church there, in the basement, we had the whole basement to ourselves. We had weights and everything.”

Read the rest here

Listen to George “The Animal” Steele on OWW Radio here.

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2 Responses to “Wrestling Legend Passes Away”

  1. I have known this unique man for the better part of 20 yrs, as a wrestler and performer we all knew he was one of a kind, but the man was fantastic routed in his faith and love of everybody he came in contact with. A very giving man who would shock the hell out of you when he turned on his 50cents words and you suddenly realized you were with a highly educated man, a teacher, trainer and very strong willed those of us t who knew him as Jim Myers will always miss the talks and phone calls, the PWHF can thank their beginning to him as he was Tony vellano’s ace in the hole

  2. I would see George wrestle on tv every summer back in the early 80s. He scared thd hell out of me.The animal was a great character.