Eugene Arthur "Mean Gene" Okerlund was an American professional wrestling interviewer, announcer and television host.
41 Facts About Gene Okerlund
Gene Okerlund was best known for his work in the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling.
Gene Okerlund was signed to a lifetime contract with WWE and later worked for promotional programs.
Gene Okerlund has been described by some journalists as the best interviewer in the history of professional wrestling.
Eugene Arthur Okerlund was born on December 19,1942 in Brookings, South Dakota to Arthur and Helen Okerlund.
Gene Okerlund grew up in Sisseton and was raised on an Indian reservation.
Gene Okerlund was an all-around athlete, participating in basketball, baseball, football and track.
Gene Okerlund later left that position to become Program Director at KDWB.
Gene Okerlund worked in Minneapolis for a local television station in the front office.
Gene Okerlund left the radio industry for a position at the American Wrestling Association in 1970, where he occasionally filled in for ailing ring announcer and interviewer Marty O'Neill, eventually becoming O'Neill's permanent replacement by the end of the decade.
Gene Okerlund stayed with the AWA until the end of 1983, when he was one of many AWA personnel to join the expanding World Wrestling Federation.
Gene Okerlund stayed with the WWF for nine years as their top interviewer and was a host of such WWF shows as All-American Wrestling.
Gene Okerlund sang the national anthem at the inaugural WrestleMania and Tutti Frutti on The Wrestling Album.
Gene Okerlund notably teamed up with Hulk Hogan to face the duo of George Steele and Mr Fuji in a winning effort.
At SummerSlam 1989, Gene Okerlund was booked to do an interview with Intercontinental Champion Rick Rude prior to Rude's match with The Ultimate Warrior.
At Survivor Series 1990, Gene Okerlund was next to the giant egg where it hatched and out came the Gobbledy Gooker.
Gene Okerlund appeared at SummerSlam 1993 and made his final WWF appearance of the 1990s on the September 18,1993 edition of Superstars.
Gene Okerlund then left the WWF entirely when his contract expired.
Gene Okerlund stated in an RF shoot interview, that although he probably could have re-negotiated a new contract, he was never actually offered one, thus opting to become an interviewer for World Championship Wrestling.
Gene Okerlund claimed at the time of his hiring with WCW that he had not been on speaking terms with McMahon for the past few years he was working in the WWF.
Gene Okerlund debuted on the November 6,1993 edition of WCW Saturday Night.
Gene Okerlund had talks with the WWF during this time they could not come to terms.
Gene Okerlund signed a new contract with WCW and returned on the November 11,1996 edition of WCW Monday Nitro.
Gene Okerlund wrestled twice in WCW; the first was in mid-2000 when he and Buff Bagwell faced Chris Kanyon and fellow announcer Mark Madden, with Bagwell and Gene Okerlund winning.
Shortly before WWF's purchase of WCW in 2001, Gene Okerlund rejoined his old promotion.
Gene Okerlund hosted WWE Confidential in 2002, which lasted for two years.
Gene Okerlund was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 1,2006, by Hulk Hogan.
In June 2008, Gene Okerlund began hosting WWE Vintage Collection, a program which showcases archive footage from the extensive WWE video library.
Gene Okerlund conducted the interviews on the three-hour "Old School" episode of Raw on November 15,2010, where he interviewed John Cena, Randy Orton, members of The Nexus and Mae Young in similar fashion as to how interviews were done in the 1980s.
In November 2016, Gene Okerlund became the narrator for the WWE Network original animated series WWE Story Time, keeping that spot until his death with Jerry Lawler taking over the voiceover work for the show.
On January 22,2018 at Raw 25 Years, Gene Okerlund made his final WWE appearance where he interviewed the then WWE Champion, AJ Styles.
That same year, Gene Okerlund even interviewed Liberace at his penthouse at Trump Tower.
Gene Okerlund appeared as himself, along with Jesse Ventura in the 1989 action movie No Holds Barred, as well as in the comedy films Repossessed in 1990, as the commentators for the exorcism and Ready to Rumble in 2000.
Gene Okerlund lent his voice to the 2000 snowboarding game SSX as the announcer for the in-game level "Merqury City Meltdown".
Gene Okerlund was one of the professional wrestling legends on the WWE Network's show Legends' House.
Gene Okerlund appeared as a "Celebrity Prognosticator" on ESPN Radio's The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on November 27,2013.
In 2018, Gene Okerlund appeared in a Mountain Dew Kickstart commercial featuring Kevin Hart who during the commercial semi-impersonated Randy Savage.
Gene Okerlund was close friends with Hulk Hogan, The Iron Sheik and the late Bobby Heenan.
Gene Okerlund had been married to his wife Jeanne since March 27,1964 and had two sons, Todd and Tor, along with three grandsons.
Gene Okerlund enjoyed boating, golfing, and spending time at his cabin in Big Sandy Lake during the summer.
Gene Okerlund died on the morning of January 2,2019, at the age of 76 in a Sarasota, Florida hospital.