Friday, September 20, 2013

Remembering William A. Moody aka Paul Bearer April 10, 1954 - March 5, 2013

The name Bill Moody might be unfamiliar to most, but professional wrestling fans all know the name Paul Bearer.  Others knew him by Percival Pringle III.

Bill Moody is most remembered for his showmanship as the manager of "The Undertaker" who is one of the most popular professional wrestlers in history.  However, Bill also represented several other well known wrestlers including Steve Austin, Lex Lugar, Mick Foley, Vader, and Kane.  He was often seen in white makeup and black eyes carrying his urn and causing trouble for the competition.  Most people, however, don't know that he is actually a real, honest to goodness, funeral director.

Moody entered the wrestling business during his teenage years as a photographer.  After he finished high school, Moody enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and during his time in the service, he often wrestled in small bouts during off hours.  He soon became a manager and promoter under the name of Percival Pringle.  Following the arrival of his son,
Moody cut back from the wrestling circles to work on a degree in mortuary science and completed his training as both a funeral director and an embalmer.  In 1984, he got back into professional wrestling in Florida and Texas and the U.S. Wrestling Association. Other wrestlers that Moody managed included "The Ultimate Warrior, and Rick Rude.

He joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1990 after being introduced to owner Vince McMahon.  Using his real life involvement in funeral service, he created the character of Paul Bearer, a ghostly character and was often heard using his catchphrase "Ohhh yyyess! and with his urn, was able to instill power into "The Undertaker" "the power of the urn"  Paul Bearer was the most visible character in wrestling outside of the wrestlers themselves.  His character is also portrayed in the video game "WWF Attitude" He continued as Paul Bearer off and on as well as working in other capacities.

Bill Moody was married to his wife Dianna who died in 2009.  They have two sons including a son who followed in his father's footsteps as a wrestler.  In 2006, Moody returned to funeral service  and also started his own independent promotion known as Gulf South Wrestling.  Moody also co-authored a book called "Inside Secrets on How To Enter the Exciting World of Pro Wrestling" with Dennis Brent.  Bill was also a country western fan and called himself "The Possum Fan" and good friends of singer George Jones.

On March 2, 2013, Bill attended an annual event called "Gulf Coast Wrestlers" Reunion in Mobile, Alabama.  During the event, Moody was having breathing problems and coughing and sought treatment for respiratory problems.  Following the reunion, Moody was treated for a blood clot and on March 5, 2013, Moody died from complications at the age of 58.

Bill Moody's funeral (program pictured) was held in the St. Vincent Catholic Church in Mobile, Alabama.  A eulogy was read by Moody's niece and she mentioned that Moody would always say "Long story short, in my opinion, it doesn't matter if you are a good guy or a bad guy in wrestling, it is what you have done outside of it that matters."
Bill Moody's funeral folder and memorabilia

Percy's Prayer

Lord, as I stumble through this life help me to create more laughter than tears, dispense more happiness than gloom, spread more cheer than despair.  Never let me grow so big that I will fail to see the wonder in the eyes of a child or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged.

Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people, make them happy, and make them forget at least momentarily all the unpleasant things in their lives.  And, in my final moment, may I hear You whisper:  "When you made my people smile, you made me smile."  Amen

Bill Moody rests beside his wife, Dianna in the Serenity Memorial Gardens in Theodore, Alabama.

Paul Bearer's resting place at Serenity Memorial Gardens

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