Captain Lou Albano, the WWE Hall of Fame inductee who parlayed his wrestling career into becoming the live-action face of Mario in “The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!” died Wednesday at age of 76. The gruff-voiced actor who starred alongside Danny Wells as Nintendo’s marquee plumber from Brooklyn popularized one of the only video game character-based dances on television as a footnote in his long entertainment career.
Albano died Wednesday, according to MTV News. WWE and Wrestler’s Rescue, an organization that helps raise money for retired wrestlers’ health care, said that he had been admitted to hospice care earlier this week, though the ultimate cause of death has not been revealed.
Albano’s tenure on the “Super Show!” included memorable sketch segments leading into the program’s cartoon series that hosted cameos by Magic Johnson, Sgt. Slaughter and “Baywatch” actress Nicole Eggert, among others. For cartoon-watching kids between 1989 and 1991, the show was a part of the early Nintendo Power generation’s weekly TV watch list. Each episode, including both “Super Mario Bros.” and “Legend of Zelda” stories, concluded with Albano’s lively rendition of “The Mario” behind the scrolling credits.
As an icon of popular entertainment at the time, with his tied up beard and idiosycratic facial jewelry, Albano presided over a golden era in the childhoods of many gamers, as well as wrestling fans, and the comic relief, as well as the perceivably never-ending stream of power-ups he exhibited in his performances will outlive him long into the future.
What was your favorite episode of “The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!”? Did you ever catch Captain Lou Albano live during his wrestling matches? Share your memories in the comment section below.