One of the most unusual stars from the world of wrestling, who made a series of memorable ring appearances mainly in the 1980s, has died. William James Myers, better known as George “The Animal” Steele, died Thursday in hospice care as a result of kidney failure, according to media reports. He was 79.
Steele was a fixture in the ring during the professional wrestling boom of the 1980s, featured in storylines that pitted him against some of the biggest stars of the day. He had a long-running feud with Randy “Macho Man” Savage that included Steele having a crush on Savage’s valet, Miss Elizabeth. Steele was a part of the heyday of the WWF, when Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan were also among the organization’s biggest stars.
Steele suffered from dyslexia, and retired soon after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 1988. He returned in a variety of part-time roles for wrestling events in the 1990s and 2000s.
Steele also had a minor acting career, including playing Swedish wrestler and actor Tor Johnson in the 1994 Tim Burton movie “Ed Wood.”
Steele’s many wrestling honors included induction into the WWF Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2005.
Here’s a clip from 1986 that may be weird even by wrestling standards, featuring Steele along with Rowdy Roddy Piper and Captain Lou Albano …