If you’re a wrestling fan, then you probably remember the manager called Paul Bearer (yes, the bad wrestling pun being “pallbearer”). Short, chubby and full of ghastly makeup to make him look dead (or undead?) Bearer (real name William Moody) died last week from issues that were apparently related to his defective gallbladder. Moody was a WWE fixture since the early 1990s, when he debuted as the Undertaker’s manager.
Of course, the Undertaker today is still alive and kicking, albeit barely. (Mark Calaway, the Undertaker, wrestles about once a year these days at Wrestlemania). Wrestling fans who grew up in the 1990s likely have a soft spot for Moody’s character, whose ghoulish appearance was always punctuated by overly emphatic “Ooooo, yessssss!” exclamations every time he appeared on TV.
In WWE’s ridiculous storyline, Bearer was the carrier of the Undertaker’s urn, from which, apparently, the dead man got some sort of mystical powers that would allow him to defeat anyone from Diesel to the Big Show to even He-Man! Okay, so the Undertaker never faced off against He-Man, but I bet he would’ve won, thanks to the power of the urn.
In his career, Moody also managed other famous wrestlers including Mankind (read: Mick Foley), Vader and Kane. Whereas Bearer’s heyday was undoubtedly in the 1990s, the 2000s saw Moody become less and less active in appearances for the company on TV. While he was briefly brought back for only sporadic appearance in the 2000s, his declining health, including problems with depression and morbid obesity, played a factor in his fewer and fewer appearances.
Moody died on March 5, only days after he was suffering from breathing difficulties and received treatment for a blood clot. Far removed from his pro-wrestling heyday, Moody’s early death at 58 from gallbladder issues is a cautionary tale about the dangers of excessive obesity.