William Moody, the real-life undertaker who became famous by portraying Paul Bearer, a mortician who managed some of pro wrestling's biggest stars, died Tuesday at 58 in a Mobile, Ala., hospital.
The hospital did not release a cause of death. TMZ.com reported that Moody told friends in the days before his death he was suffering from a blood clot.
Moody hit the peak of his career when he joined the WWE in 1991, took the name Paul Bearer and became The Undertaker's manager. Bearer's face was painted a pasty white and he would carry an urn with him to ringside.
He was known for a demonic laugh and the catch phrase, "Oh, yes!" He hosted a show on WWE broadcasts known as "The Funeral Parlor."
Moody got into the wrestling business in the late 1970s, first competing on smaller shows around the country while serving in the Air Force.
His first major success, though, came when he was joined Florida Championship Wrestling in 1984 under the name Percival "Percy" Pringle III. He had worked under the Pringle name for several years previously, but didn't get over as a star until joining FCW.
Moody's greatest notoriety came after joining the WWE. He told of a 1990 meeting with WWE owner Vince McMahon and executives Pat Patterson and J.J. Dillon in which the Paul Bearer character was first conceived.
McMahon told Patterson and Dillon that Moody was a real-life mortician.
"Vince is laughing like, 'Ho ho ho ho!' You know, that trademark Vince McMahon laugh," Moody explained. "So that moment there when we all realized that they were looking for a manager for Taker and that I was a real mortician. … It was a moment in time that I will never forget and I will take to my grave with me."
Moody's wife, Diana, predeceased him in 2009. He is survived by sons Michael and Daniel.