Famed pro wrestling manager and legitimate mortician, William Moody, AKA Paul Bearer passed away today at the age of 58. Moody was most famous as Paul Bearer in the WWE, where he managed the Undertaker for over a decade to great success. He also managed Kane, Mankind and Vader among others in his time in WWE. Fans of World Class Championship Wrestling will remember him as Percy Pringle, who was a classic old school manager. He toured a lot of other territories as well, before working almost exclusively with the WWE for the remainder of his career.
No word yet on what caused his death, but while I typically avoid wrestling death mentions because of how often they happen, this one is a notable exception. The one and only time I dressed up for a wrestling event, was when I was a much, much younger man and I went as Paul Bearer. I wasn’t anything close to fat, so a pillow was needed to replicate Bearer’s girth, but it was an interesting experience. I could do a pretty good impression back then, shouting “OHHHHHHHHH YES!” and holding up a foam urn. My brother dressed as the Undertaker and the two of us had a lot of fun as well as taking plenty of photos with fans.
It was also one of the first experiences I ever had speaking with a wrestling personality, as we cornered Bearer near ringside and asked him what was in the urn. He replied rather calmly, “coffee”, which apparently as later shoot interviews would reveal, was the truth. Bearer will no doubt get a WWE Hall of Fame induction in the years ahead, but it’s a shame he couldn’t get inducted while he was living. By all accounts he was a pretty awesome guy.