In some sad news, the legendary “Rowdy” Roddy Piper has passed away. He was 61 years of age.
Whilst his biggest success came in the professional wrestling business, Piper - real name Roderick George Toombs - is a familiar face to many a genre fan for his charismatic turns in many a movie over the years.
Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada on April 17th, 1954, Roddy would go on to become one of the most popular wrestlers of all time and rightfully has a place in the WWE Hall of Fame. Pulling on his Scottish heritage, Piper would rile audiences like no other as he used his vocal skills and brawling style to tear opponents to shreds, all whilst often adorned in a traditional kilt and with his bagpipes nearby. Having wrestled all across the globe, the villainous Roddy was an integral part of the very first Wrestlemania, where his media-spanning feud with Hulk Hogan saw Piper team with Paul Orndorff against Hogan and Mr. T to headline an event that drew eyes from all across the globe and changed the face of professional wrestling.
Despite at times being a great 'everyman' good guy, Piper was a truly iconic bad guy, with his status as a wrestling great cemented a long time ago. But to many STARBURST readers, Roddy will be remembered as the guy who transcended the professional wrestling industry and crossed over to the realm of genre movies, most famously as the uber-cool Nada in John Carpenter’s They Live, where he was fondly remembered for being there to chew bubblegum and kick ass… but was all out of bubblegum. The grappler-turned-actor would also notably starred in the likes of Hell Comes to Frogtown, Sci-fighters, Jungleground and Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies.
Having overcome multiple injuries over his wrestling career, Piper had more recently been declared cancer free after having been diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma back in 2006. The cause of his death has been described as cardiac arrest, with him passing away at his Hollywood home.
The thoughts of all at STARBURST go out to the friends and family of the truly legendary “Rowdy” Roddy Piper at this time.