I have not watched professional wrestling in a long time, but it was a very big part of my childhood. I was into wrestling then, like I am into sports now. Some of my first memories involve early superstars like Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, and the Undertaker. This past Tuesday, a key part of that era of wrestling, Paul Bearer, passed away in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama.
William Moody, better known as Paul Bearer, was the overweight, weird looking, and just overall creepy, manager of the Undertaker. Paul Bearer always toted an urn down to the ring, matching his and the Undertaker’s characters.
He has been known to have problems with breathing and sleep apnea, because of his weight, which was one time over 500 pounds. He passed away Tuesday, in the hospital, reportedly due to an upper respiratory infection.
Moody began his pro wrestling managing career in 1979 using the name Percy Pringle III. In 1991 he was hired by the WWE (then WWF) and his career took off along side the Undertaker. Over the next 20 years, Paul Bearer would also manage the Undertaker’s on-screen half brother Kane, Mick Foley as Mankind, and ’Stone Cold’ Steve Austin. The character of Paul Bearer was killed off in 2004, when the Undertaker forced him into a glass casket, and filled it with concrete. In regular WWE fashion he was eventually written back into a storyline.
In his life outside of the WWE, Moody was a licensed funeral director and embalmer in Mobile, but he will forever be known by many as Paul Bearer. I remember being 3 or 4 years old and seeing Paul Bearer on my TV screen, as he has said many times as his WWE catch phrase, William “Paul Bearer” Moody, may you “Rest in Peace.”