This is the biggest week of the year for wrestling fans as Vince McMahon’s titan of a company, WWE hosts its 33rd annual supershow, WrestleMania from Orlando, Florida. While I know Geeks of Doom doesn’t always cover wrestling; (I’d quit my job and write full time if it did), one cannot deny the crossover appeal of pro wrestling, pop culture, and geek-based entertainment.
This is an industry that has spawned its own film company, and created some of the biggest stars in the world. Look no further than the highest grossing star in Hollywood right now, Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock. The Rock headlined wrestling’s Super Bowl 5 times and featured in some of the events greatest matches. Last year in Dallas, Texas at Cowboys Stadium, they set an indoor attendance record with 100,000 packed in, and wouldn’t you know who showed up with a flamethrower to commemorate the event… it was The Rock.
In Memoriam 2015: Film, Television, Sports, Literature, the Arts…
Another year has come to an end. 2015 was full of life in so many vivid ways: creatively, intensely, and tragically, but also wonderfully presenting its own set of challenges and obstacles to overcome in the new year. And as a year also brings, we also lost many shining figures in the entertainment world among other fields.
Here’s a rundown of some of those figures who touched our lives and will continue to touch our lives always as we remember some of the key people in Television and Film, in front of the camera and behind the scenes, people who are legends, pioneers, luminaries, inspirations, and above all, timeless.
If someone penned a biography of me, it would be called “Pro Wrestling and Horror Movies.” Okay, maybe it would have a more clever title, but you get the idea. Someone who linked those two geek subgenres was “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. I was 5 years old when I watched Piper defeated Adrian Adonis at Wrestlemania III in what was billed as his last match. So a year later, when I saw Piper was the star of a movie, I needed to see it. The film was John Carpenter‘s They Live, a sci-fi action thriller that to a young kid, was about ugly aliens and CURSING! As I’ve gotten older, They Live has grown into an outright cult classic, with themes much deeper than my 6-year old brain could understand. And with the unfortunate and untimely passing of Roddy Piper on Friday, at the age of 61 from cardiac arrest, it assures They Live will live on forever, for both pro-wrestling and horror movie fans.
Rather than write a review of a near 20-year old film, let me simply point out some of the reasons They Live earned its cult status:
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper left a lasting legacy in and out of the wrestling ring, when he passed away Friday, from cardiac arrest at the age of 61. Commonly known for his Hall of Fame wrestling career, Piper was one of the greatest villains ever in the ring. Piper used his natural charisma to segue into a fairly successful, although mostly B-movie laden film career. His most iconic role came in John Carpenter’s 1988 sci-fi thriller, They Live, as a drifter who stumbles into an alien invasion. That film made him a cult hero, and solidified his transition from the ring to big screen performer. Piper was active to the end; his IMDB page has 8 projects listed in the production stages. One of them currently in post-production is Chad Ferrin‘s adaptation of Peter Simeti‘s original graphic novel, The Chair from Alterna Comics. The makers of that film are dedicating the project to the late wrestler/actor.
For the better part of the last 40 years, Roderick George Toombs was known to the world as “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, the bombastic, loudmouth, straight shooting, dastardly, wrestler, and movie star. Nicknamed the Hot Rod, Piper was at times as big a star as Hulk Hogan, and is beloved by cult movie watchers for his turn in John Carpenter’s sci-fi classic They Live. The WWE hall-of-famer died in his sleep at his Hollywood home on Thursday from cardiac arrest, and was found on Friday.