Famed WWE interviewer Gene Okerlund — known by many by his nickname, "Mean Gene," has died, the WWE announced in an online statement. He was 76

By Lindsay Kimble
January 02, 2019 11:52 AM
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Famed WWE interviewer Gene Okerlund — known by many by his nickname, “Mean Gene,” has died, the WWE announced in an online statement. He was 76.

Okerlund’s cause of death was not immediately revealed.

“In his early days, ‘Mean Gene,’ as he was named by fellow Minnesotan, Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura first came to prominence by interviewing the greatest stars of the AWA, including Ventura, Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan and Hulk Hogan,” the WWE said.

Okerlund joined the WWE in 1984, conducting ringside interviews with the sports’ biggest stars, including Hogan. Additionally, he hosted shows including All-American Wresting and Tuesday Night Titans.

In 1993, Okerlund became the lead interviewer for World Championship Wrestling. He ultimately returned to the WWE in 2001, though, according to the statement. In addition to being a cast member on the WWE Network reality series Legends’ House, he also served as the narrator for the animated show WWE Story Time.

“WWE extends its condolences to Okerlund’s family, friends and fans,” the statement said.

Gene Okerlund
| Credit: George Napolitano /Film Magic

Countless wrestling stars were quick to pay tribute to Okerlund, including Steve Austin.

“Just heard Mean Gene Okerlund has passed away,” he wrote. “As an interviewer, pitch man, announcer, or host, he was untouchable. Simply the best. Total professional with quick wit, sarcasm, humor, and that golden voice. Condolences to his friends and family.”

Wrote Hogan, simply, “Mean Gene I love you my brother.”