Interview - George "The Animal" Steele

Interview: George "The Animal" Steele (Jim Myers), Businessman and Wrestling Legend - 27th June 2003

Many people know George Steele as the wrestler who competed for world championships around the world. He fought the best in the business from Bruno Sammartino, to Randy Savage, all the way up to Hulk Hogan.

Like some of the great wrestlers', George did well in the movie business, including a leading role in the award winning, Ed Wood.

Today, Jim runs a successful business, looks after his heath, assists worthy charities, and resides with his lovely wife in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Jim Myers takes time out to do an e-mail interview with Greg Tingle.

How, why and when did you get involved in wrestling?

I was teaching and earning $4,300 a year in 1961. I needed a part time job to support my family.

George "The Animal" Steele was born James Myers in Detroit, MI in 1937. Before he became a wrestler, he was a teacher. He began his career in Detroit in the 1960's. At first, he wore a mask and wrestled as The Student as a member of the long-running old-school heel stable Gary Hart's Army. He taught for 25 years.

What's your background?

A wild brawling wildman that changed as the business did, to a lovable wildman.

Wrestled pro for 40 years.

What do you consider the highlights of your career?

All 40 years.

I really had three wrestling careers:

ONE learning the business as THE STUDENT while wearing a mask

TWO as George I was one of the wildest to step in to the ring from 1966-1985

THREE from 1985 to 1985 and way beyond I became a loved wrestling cartoon.

What are your thoughts on the series of matches you have with Randy Savage?

This was really the twilight of my career - It was a great way to finish my career.

It was a great run that was really at the end of my career. Liz was great. I hated her death. It elevated Randy to superstar status and sent me to the WWE hall of fame. That is a win-win.

In 50 years from now, how would you like to be remembered?

As a successful businessman that gave back.

It would be nice to be remembered as a man of the Lord Jesus.

What keeps you busy these days?

After having success pinning Crohn¹s disease. Doctors say there is no known cure for Crohn¹s but God knows better.

I have my health and life back things just keep getting better. How can you beat life on the beach with a wife of forty eight years and a successful home base business? I am involved many charities. I also do personal appearances.

I belong to a very active Rotary Club, and serve as Sergeant-at-Arms, and I serve on three boards that I am passionate about. The PWHF e ARC and the MSU Space Coast Alumni Club. I am most excited about the fact that I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

Wrestling has helped make a lot of good things happen in our lives. Thank you for remembering.




George Steele Official website


'The Animal' now a teddy bear: Florida Today - 24th October 2003

For 25 years until his retirement in 1988, George "The Animal" Steele was a professional wrestler who WWWF fans loved to boo.

Bald, hairy and green- tongued, the giant madman looked like a character from Street Fighter II. He chewed turnbuckles, grunted like an early life form, and fought the likes of Gorilla Monsoon, Bruno Sammartino and The Sheik.

At the same time, for 25 years until his retirement in 1985, a nice, quiet high school teacher and coach in Madison Heights called Jim Myers, '61, was enjoying success; his 1969 wrestling team won the state crown and his 1985 football team went undefeated. Both are, actually, one and the same. "I had a wife, two kids and a $4,300 salary," explains Myers, now living in Cocoa Beach, FL, with wife Pat. "I needed some extra money. A friend suggested wrestling." Jim never wrestled before. A bad knee had stymied his football career at MSU.

To conceal his identity, he wore a mask during summers wrestling in places like Madison Square Garden. "Soon, everyone knew," he recounts. "Wrestling got really big, with TV coverage and all." In 1984, he appeared before 97,000 fans in Wrestlemania II at the Pontiac Silverdome--the largest indoor audience ever according to Guinness. His students would bring magazines featuring George "The Animal" Steele for him to autograph. "Who's this ugly guy Steele?" Jim would ask them with transparent innocence. Once some 80 football players showed up with his trademark green tongue (a result of chewing mints). He pretended not to notice.

A WWWF Hall of Fame inductee, Jim now works as a WWWF road agent. But he has found yet another career. After a bit part in The Nanny, he got a key role in Tim Burton's movie Ed Wood, playing Tor Johnson, "the first actor who played monsters without makeup." Jim worked alongside the likes of Johnny Depp, Bill Murray, Patricia Arquette and oscar-winning Martin Landau. He is the featured star of his next movie, Blowfish. An indication of his movie success is that one can now buy George Steele stuffed animals, toys, and even dolls. Dolls? "Well," says Jim, "they are action dolls."



Steele VS Tito Santana

Steele VS Bruno Sammartino