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Madison Heights

July 15, 2013

Animal unleashed

Madison native who gained fame wrestling as George “The Animal” Steele returns to area for book signings

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Madison Heights native Jim Myers made his name wrestling as George “The Animal” Steele.

Longtime professional wrestler and Madison Heights native Jim Myers, better known as George “The Animal” Steele will make appearances at book stores in Royal Oak and Troy to promote his new biography, “Animal.”

Myers will sign copies of the book at the Royal Oak Barnes and Noble, 500 S. Main St., at 7 p.m. July 18. The longtime World Wrestling Federation grappler will appear at 2 p.m. July 20 at the Troy Barnes and Noble, 396 John R. Road. Myers will also make appearances at bookstores in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.

“It seemed like the right time to write the book,” said Myers, who the footfall field at Madison Heights Madison is named after.

Myers, who began his professional wrestling career in 1962, said it took 17 years to complete the biography, written with Jim Evans and published through Chicago-based Triumph Books. The 224-page book was published in June.

Myers, who coached wrestling at Madison Heights High and led the Eagles to a Michigan High School Athletic Association state title in 1969, said composing the biography presented a number of challenges, such as dealing with his dyslexia and Crohns Disease, and determining what to include in the work.

“I’ve been really fortunate to have God with me all of my life. To make it through high school and then go to (Michigan State University) dealing with a learning disability — that took a lot,” Myers said. “You go through all of these different experiences and you’re a little brash in your thinking, but God makes a lot of things possible.”

In the book, according to Myers, he shares how he balanced his real life as a teacher and coach at Madison High with the green-tongued wrestling legend he became. The biography paints a picture of wrestling in the 1970s and 1980s, and Myers’ entry into the World Wrestling Federation, where he earned a spot in the now-World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame, being inducted in 1995.

The book, Myers said, contains numerous stories about the life of a pro wrestler, where Myers traveled with the likes of Hulk Hogan and Randy “Macho Man” Savage.

Myers, who lives in Cocoa Beach, Fla., with his wife of 58 years, Pat, said he tries to make it back to Michigan two to three times a year to see family who live in Paw Paw, Petosky and Troy. He said he’s excited to come home, adding the visit will be a hectic one, due to a number of obligations.

One of those obligations may be explaining the origins of his in-ring name. One story has Myers lifting the name George Steele from a Warren coach and teacher. On July 8, Myers said the name stems from his time as a wrestler in Pennsylvania.

“I was wrestling in Pittsburgh and I was wearing a mask. I didn’t want to use my real name,” Myers said. “We were in Pittsburgh, so somebody suggested ‘Steele,’ and I liked that and they wanted to call me ‘Jim Steele,’ but I didn’t want to use my first name, so we went with “George Steele.” I was wrestling as George Steele before I met the Warren George Steele.”

Although it took some time and effort, Myers said he enjoyed working on the biography. He said he thinks writing a book is something everyone should do.

“Everybody has a story to tell because everyone’s lives are so different and filled with so many different ups and downs,” Myers said. “You don’t realize a lot of things until you get older in life and there’s a reason that everything happens. I think everybody has a reason to get their story in writing.”

For more information on the book signings, call the Royal Oak Barnes and Noble at (248) 336-9490 or the Troy store at (248) 577-5056.

For more information on Myers, check www.georgetheanimalsteele.com.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.