One of the wrestling world’s most notorious personalities, George “The Animal” Steele passed away today and fans all over morn this substantial loss.

William James “Jim” Myers, better known by his ring name George “The Animal” Steele, was an American professional wrestler, school teacher, author, and actor. He was 79. Per Deadline, Steele’s persona was that of a wild-eyed, a furball body, green tongue, mute and a slightly unhinged penchant for eating turnbuckle padding — made him a star well before the WWE came into prominence on TV and pay-per-view in the 1980s. He later caught the eye of Tim Burton, who cast him as Swedish actor Tor Johnson in his 1994 pic ED WOOD starring Johnny Depp and Martin Landau.

(L to R) George Steele and Johnny Depp in ED WOOD

Deadline went on to report, Steele became a staple on televised WWE events later in his career and “transformed” from a bad guy to a hero during the mid-1980s. He appeared in several films after ED WOOD but will be best remembered on the big screen as Johnson, one of Wood’s motley crew of actors mounting Plan 9 From Outer Space in Burton’s homage to the so-bad-it’s-good director Edward Wood Jr. The movie won Landau an Oscar for playing Bela Lugosi.

(L to R) George Steele and Bill Murray in ED WOOD

There is no doubt this comes to the surprise of many and the loss is real. Steele was an entertainer is every sense of the word. A scholar with talents matching his larger than life stature. You will be so very missed George “The Animal” Steele!

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