Seven years ago today, on the 5th of March 2013, the inimitable William 'Paul Bearer' Moody sadly passed away in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama after suffering from a heart attack.
Whilst he was perhaps best known for his work managing the Undertaker, he got his start in the wrestling business as a ringside photographer, and then went on to manage as Percival 'Percy' Pringle III in independent promotions such as WOW and WCCW.
He joined the WWF in 1990, and Vince McMahon took inspiration from Moody's real-life involvement in the funeral industry to create the character of Paul Bearer. He went on to manage the Undertaker on and off until 1997, when it was revealed that Bearer and the Undertaker had a traumatic past...
The Undertaker's mother had an affair with Paul Bearer who was working under the Undertaker's parents in the family funeral home and as a result, gave birth to a younger half-brother of the Undertaker, named Kane. Throughout The Undertaker's childhood and teen years, he lived in a funeral home with his parents and half-brother. According to Paul Bearer, The Undertaker accidentally killed his parents by setting the funeral home ablaze and caused his half-brother's face to be bruised, burned and scarred. At the time throughout mid to late 1997, The Undertaker denied all this, claiming it was his younger half-brother's fault. Bearer accused the Undertaker of being an "arsonist", "murderer", and "liar."
Because of the fire incident, the Undertaker thought his younger half-brother and Bearer's illegitimate son had been dead for years. But Bearer introduced Kane in October 1997 at Badd Blood: In Your House, where Kane cost The Undertaker a Hell in a Cell match against Shawn Michaels. This led to a bitter rivalry between The Undertaker, Kane and Bearer in a storyline that would last until 1999.
Bearer retired from on-screen performing in 2000, and went on to serve as a WWF road agent, stage manager and talent scout. His contract came to an end in 2002, when he briefly went to TNA under the name Percy Pringle III. He would return to WWE in 2003 and worked both on and off screen in varying roles until 2012.
Bearer was inducted posthumously into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014, in recognition of his incomparable work during the attitude era and beyond.