WWE says William Moody, aka Paul Bearer, has died


Share
Posted Online: March 07, 2013, 10:00 am
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story

William Moody, better known to pro wrestling fans as Paul Bearer, the pasty-faced, urn-carrying manager for performers The Undertaker and Kane, has died, the WWE said. He was 58.

A spokesman for the wrestling company said Moody's family notified the WWE of his death on Tuesday. No cause was released.

After stints in various independent wrestling promotions, Moody joined the WWE in 1990 and quickly became associated with The Undertaker, a character who claimed he was undead and boasted of mystical powers.

The WWE said in a statement that Moody, 'went on to become a memorable part of WWE over the course of the next 20 years.'

In the WWE plotline, Paul Bearer later managed Undertaker's on-screen half-brother Kane. He also managed the bad-guy character Mick 'Mankind' Foley.

His shrill catchphrase, 'Ooohhh yeeesss!' and contorted facial expressions made him one of the sports-entertainment company's more popular personalities for more than a decade.

In the outlandish world of pro wrestling, Paul Bearer was once placed in a glass casket and buried in concrete. In his final WWE appearance last year, Paul Bearer was locked in a freezer by Randy Orton and left there tied up even after he was found by Kane.

That was Moody's life in the WWE. And it was a business he loved for nearly 40 years. Many of his colleagues paid tribute to him on Wednesday on Twitter.

'Rest in peace, Paul Bearer. You will never be forgotten. There will never be another,' wrote wrestler Triple H.

Moody was a perfect fit as a macabre mortician. When he joined the WWE, he ditched the blond hair and Percy Pringle name he forged in the 1980s for jet black locks complete with powdered white face. In the act, Paul Bearer's urn had some unexplained power that protected the Undertaker, allowing his protege to escape unscathed from every leg drop and big boot to the face. Paul Bearer also hosted the WWE segment, 'The Funeral Parlor.'

Moody, an Alabama native, told the pro wrestling website PWTorch.com last year that had a degree in mortuary science. He said he was a licensed funeral director and embalmer. He was called to WWE chairman Vince McMahon's office about taking the job as Undertaker's manager without the company knowing his true background.

'It was one those had-to-be-there moments when Vince realized I was the real thing, the real deal,' Moody told the website. 'I was the real Undertaker.'

Moody battled health and weight problems and worked on and off for the company after 2002.

Foley said he babysat Moody's children and called him 'Uncle Paul.' The Paul Bearer character will be remembered most for the soap opera twists in his relationship with The Undertaker, still one of the premier stars of the company.

'It just seemed so bizarre,' Foley said in a telephone interview. 'But at the same time, he was a perfect fit for The Undertaker. They went on to become iconic figures in our profession.'
















 




Local events heading








  Today is Wednesday, Sept. 17, the 260th day of 2014. There are 105 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We are told league merchants have paid no attention to the prohibition on selling ammunition, but continue to sell just as before the order was issued.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The Rev. R.F. Sweet, rector of Trinity Episcopal Parish, left for the East to visit his boyhood home in Boston before attending the general convention of the Episcopal Church in New York.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Dr. E.A. Anderson was named to succeed Dr. E.L. Kerns as head physician of the Modern Woodmen of America, and moved to Rock Island from Holdingford, Minn.
1939 -- 75 years ago: One week late, because of the outbreak of war, Dr. E.L. Beyer resumed his work as professor of romance languages at Augustana College. Dr. and Mrs. Beyer left Germany on the last train to the Belgian border.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Employees in Turnstyle stores in Moline and Davenport will vote Oct. 2 in an election set up by the Chicago regional office of the National Labor Relations Board. Employees will vote either for the Retail Clerk International or for no union.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Rock Island High School is considering a step to help teen moms stay in school and get their diploma. The school board is expected to vote tonight on instituting an on-site child care center.




(More History)