WWE Hall of Fame manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, one of the ringside villains wrestling fans most loved to hate, died on Sunday at the age of 73.
Heenan, known for his sarcastic wit and telegenic presence, was widely considered one of the great managers in WWE history. In later years, Heenan became arguably the greatest heel TV announcer of all-time. He earned his nickname, “The Brain,” by always being the smartest person in the arena — or at least acting like he was.
During Heenan’s time as a manager, he managed such wrestling stars as Andre The Giant, Ravishing Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect, Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, King Kong Bundy and more. Heenan had been out of the spotlight in recent years as he had his jaw removed due to throat cancer.
Here is the WWE’s complete statement on his passing:
WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Bobby Heenan, regarded by many as the greatest manager in sports-entertainment history, has passed away at age 73.
With a career spanning more than four decades, Bobby Heenan was the “The Brain” behind some of the most prolific Superstars in sports-entertainment history. Heenan plied his trade as their mischievous manager by running his mouth on their behalf with a sarcastic wit considered among the best in the business.
Heenan named competitors under his guidance as the Heenan Family, a moniker meant to show the strength of their alliance over any of their opposition. Members of the Heenan Family in the AWA and WWE read like the who’s who of sports entertainment, including legends and WWE Hall of Famers such as Nick Bockwinkel, the Blackjacks, Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy, “Ravishing” Rick Rude, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig, the Brain Busters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard), Harley Race, and of course, the first WWE Hall of Famer, Andre the Giant, whom Heenan led to the ring at WrestleMania III before 93,173 fans.
As impossible as it may seem, Heenan’s overwhelming success as a manager was matched by that of his announcing career. Heenan’s constant verbal jousts with fellow WWE Hall of Famers Gorilla Monsoon and “Mean” Gene Okerlund on USA Network remain among the most entertaining moments in sports-entertainment history. In fact, “The Brain” was so entertaining, that “The Bobby Heenan Show” had a brief run on USA Network as well.
In addition “The Brain” was part of the original broadcast team for Monday Night RAW in 1993, and is the only person to have sat at the announcers’ table for both Raw and WCW Monday Nitro.
WWE extends its condolences to Heenan’s family, friends and fans.