From Madison Heights, Mich., To Madison Square Garden, "The Animal" enthused wrestling fans
|George 'The Animal' Steele was popular all over the world. WWE|
Steele, real name Jim Myers, had been battling health problems for years, including kidney failure. He had been transferred to the hospice shortly before his death.
Portraying a wild-headed, wild-headed wildman, Steele was known for "eating" tensors - opening them with his teeth and throwing the shredded stuffing to his opponents. He enjoyed his greatest fame near the end of his three decades career as part of the 1980s (then WWF) WWE roster which included stars such as Andre the Giant, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan and "Male Man "Randy Savage.
Steele spent most of his career playing a monstrous menacing heel, a villain known for his sometimes vicious fights with the likes of champions Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund and Pedro Morales.
In 1985, he became a nice kind boy thanks to a story meant to write the character of Steele, as the company moved to a younger list. The fans took pity on the Animal and encouraged him, giving Steele a new life as a nice and simple character that meant well.
In the first episode of "Saturday Night's Main Event" in 1985, Steele's teammates, Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, betrayed him. Steele thought this was WWE's way of writing his character. But owner Vince McMahon felt a positive reaction from the crowd to Steele's betrayal and called audibly.
"Vince was watching what was going on, and he sent captain Lou [Albano] - who had been my manager for many years - to the ring," Steele told CBS Sports in an interview in 2015. "I'm looking at him like he's fighting And he's wanting to delay me, "Come on, come on." So, finally, out of nowhere, I knelt on one knee and put my head on his fat belly.He started stroking my head like an animal. Absolutely crazy nuts.
"As soon as I saw it and realized that we are getting into the business of selling action figures and lunch cubes and images, [I thought] this could make a lot of financial sense."
During the mid-1980s, Steele had a memorable feud with Savage and appeared in three WrestleManias. His likeness appeared in action figures, ice cream bars and trading cards. In the 1980s WWE, George's less threatening and humorous "Steele" Steele was more suitable for younger people.
Contrary to his trick, Steele was a well-spoken man. He had given intelligible television interviews for years before he dumbed down his "animal character" into McMahon's suggestion in the 1980s. At that point, he began to limit himself to one-word responses, grunts and guttural howls and animals.
His fame as a fighter allowed him to transition into acting opportunities. Steele appeared with Tony Randall in a 1985 television commercial for Minolta computers. In 1994, he starred opposite Johnny Depp in the critically acclaimed film "Ed Wood," playing the role of B-movie actor and former professional wrestler Tor Johnson.
Until 1985, wrestling was only a part-time effort that Myers considered a side job. Her main job was teaching health and physical education at Madison High School in her hometown of Madison Heights, Michigan. He also trained the football, fighting and track teams of Madison on several occasions.
Although George Steele never won a world title in professional wrestling, Jim Myers was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Michigan High School Coach Association in 1996.
During the summer vacation or vacation, "Coach Myers", without the knowledge of most of his fellow students and teachers, fought all over Michigan and Ohio disguised under a mask like "The Student." Myers entered wrestling in 1963 working for promoter Bert Ruby and continued to fight as El Estudiante by promoters Ruby, Walter Moore and Ed Farhat (the original Sheik) until it caught the attention of then-WWF Champion Sammartino in 1966.
Sammartino invited Myers to fight in Pittsburgh for much larger paychecks - on the condition that he lose the mask. Myers agreed, and in January 1967 the character of George "The Animal" Steele was born. All the time, he commuted back and forth to Madison Heights to teach and train. This continued until he retired from teaching in early 1986 and, for the first time, eventually took a full-time wrestling schedule.
The money Steele could have made as a wrestling villain all year was far better than what Myers won as a high school teacher and trainer. But as he explained in his 2013 animal book, Myers continued to teach for 25 years because he considered his true vocation.
"Coaching is what I believe God put me on Earth to do, even more than taking hidden objects out of my fighting trunks," he wrote. "I came back a fortune by going back to Madison High every autumn for years. I believed in what I was doing and what was best for the children and what was best for me."
Although he was always great and athletic, Myers was often bullied as a child due to a learning problem (later diagnosed as dyslexia). When he realized that he was strong enough to fight physically, he sometimes led to behavior problems and poor decisions.
Myers struggled to overcome his shortcomings, including his dyslexia. He won a B.A. Michigan State and an M.A. Of Central Michigan and later won a spot on the UFC's list of Grand Rapids Blazers in defensive tackle. He then decided to draw from his life experiences as a mentor to youth as a teacher and coach.
In addition to a 25-year career as a teacher and trainer and solid 25 years as an active professional wrestler, Myers worked for many years as a behind-the-scenes WWE agent, helping to coordinate live events and matches. He fought in the occasional match until the year 2000, when age and health problems hit him, including a serious bout with Crohn's disease.
Steele was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995, the Wrestling Pro Hall of Fame in Amsterdam, New York in 2005, and was honored in 2004 as a men's wrestler for Alley Club of Cauliflower.
He is survived by his wife, Pat, and their children Felicia, Dennis and Randy.