On Wednesday, legendary pro-wrestling personality “Mean” Gene Okerlund passed away at the age of 76. Okerlund, a native of Sisseton, SD, is most famously known for his time spent with World Wrestling Entertainment as a back stage interviewer.
Okerlund first arrived to the WWE in 1984, coming over from the American Wrestling Association – a place where he first got his start in the pro-wrestling business. In a release by World Wrestling Entertainment on Wednesday morning, the name “Mean” Gene was given to Okerlund by former Minnesota Governor and wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura.
To this day, when you think of the best interviews in sports entertainment, “Mean” Gene was the one right there asking all of the questions.
“Mean” Gene was inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2006.
Growing up in South Dakota, Okerlund was part of a music group called ‘Gene Carroll and the Shades.’ In 2009, the South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association honored the band by inducting them into the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Okerlund's family recently told the Washington Post that Gene had been hospitalized with kidney disease.