Pat Patterson, wrestling icon and inaugural WWF Intercontinental Champion, has died at the age of 79.
Born Pierre Clemont, Patterson started his career in the late ’50s and is famed for being the first openly gay WWF star. His career spanned more than six decades, most recently winning WWE’s 24/7 Championship in 2019.
As part of Vince McMahon’s most trusted circle throughout his wrestling career, Patterson is credited with the creation and format of the famed Royal Rumble match, a fan-favorite and staple of WWE’s yearly programming for more than 30 years.
Alongside Gerald Brisco, Patterson regained fame during the WWF “Attitude Era” as one of McMahon’s villainous on-screen henchmen, often playing into nefarious schemes and storylines to help prop up the evil McMahon. He’s often credited with helping boost McMahon’s character into another stratosphere.
Long heralded for his ability to spot and cultivate talent and his influential mind for the business, Patterson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996 and is widely considered one of the greatest minds in wrestling history. Serving as wrestler, commentator, on-screen crony and behind-the-scenes mastermind, Patterson touched all four posts in wrestling.
“In a career spanning six decades, the renaissance man left an indelible mark on the industry in the ring, on the microphone and behind the scenes,” WWE said in a statement.
Source: Sporting News