I’m sure it’s no consolation to the people who knew him as Roderick George Toombs, or “Dad,” but 61 is actually a fairly long life for a professional wrestler. I knew him best as Rowdy Roddy Piper. He died from a heart attack two days ago on July 31, 2015.
As a young wrestling fan, I remember Rowdy Roddy Piper most as a villain who played Hulk Hogan’s arch nemesis at the time. That dates me back to the days of Saturday morning cartoons and “Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling,” which ran from 1985 to 1986 — not too long after the era as other animated brain children like The Dukes of Hazzard cartoon, “The Dukes” (1983), and the “Rubik, the Amazing Cube” cartoon!
By the way, on “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling” Piper was voiced by prolific voice actor Charles Adler and Hulk Hogan was voiced by Brad Garrett, which makes perfect sense. But yes, it was this cartoon that sealed piper in my mind as “the leader” of the heels in WWF (no WWE) wrestling, because he was positioned as the ring-leader.
I remember LJN’s Wrestling Superstars Roddy Piper action figure (one of the few I did not own), and LJN’s Thumb Wrestlers version of Piper, notably designed without his trademark kilt. I also remember, what seemed to be, a return for Piper in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, in the days of Brother Love, when Piper was going coconuts after Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka.
Wrestling career aside, I guess I didn’t realize that Piper had such a successful acting career. As a Horror movie fan, of course I’m familiar with his memorable performance in John Carpenter’s “They Live” (1988). His IMDb page lists 123 acting credits, many of which are wrestling-related, but many aren’t. For example, Piper appeared on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and there are eight other projects that were announced, in pre-production or in post-production.
I read something interesting on his Wikipedia page: “In an HBO Real Sports interview conducted by Piper in 2003, he had predicted that he was “not going to make 65” due to his poor lifestyle, and that his 2003 return to WWE was because he could not access his pension fund until reaching the age of 65.”
Perhaps “Evil Mike” Maryman of Evil Episodes said it best when he wrote on Twitter: “RIP Roddy Piper. Grew up watching his shenanigans in and out of the ring! Hope he’s chewing bubblegum and kicking ass wherever he is!”
To listeners of Movie Podcast Weekly, Episode 148 is finally posted, and it is perhaps one of our most entertaining episodes ever. We Feature Review “Pixels,” “Southpaw” and “Paper Towns.” And if you’re reading this blog, but you’ve never heard our weekly movie podcast, join us every Wednesday, when we review new movies that are currently in theaters every single Wednesday. Coming up next: We’ll review the “Mission: Impossible” franchise and its newer installment, “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” (2015). Join us free on iTunes or here at Movie Podcast Weekly.com.
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