Rowdy Roddy Piper

Arguably the greatest villain in the history of professional wrestling, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper's outsized personality made him a legend in the sport and a popular star in action-packed genre films like "They Live" (1988) ... Read more »
Born: 04/17/1954 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CA

Filmography

Actor (40)

The Masked Saint 2016 (Movie)

Nicky Stone (Actor)

Don't Look Back 2014 - 2015 (TV Show)

Actor

Dilemma 2014 (Movie)

(Actor)

Moral Code 2014 (Movie)

(Actor)

Other Plans 2014 (Movie)

Dean Evans (Actor)

Shut Up and Shoot! 2014 (Movie)

(Actor)

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia 2009, 2013 (Tv Show)

Actor

Cold Case 2010 (Tv Show)

Actor

Kickin' It Old Skool 2007 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Domestic Import 2006 (Movie)

Bronco Bill (Actor)

Robot Chicken 2006 (Tv Show)

Voice

Sin-Jin Smyth 2006 (Movie)

Trent Polly (Actor)

Hard Time 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Shepherd 1999 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Misery Brothers 1998 (Movie)

(Actor)

Dead Tides 1997 (Movie)

(Actor)

Last to Surrender 1997 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Bad Pack 1997 (Movie)

(Actor)

Marked Man 1996 (Movie)

(Actor)

Sci-Fighters 1996 (Movie)

Cameron Grayson (Actor)

Terminal Rush 1996 (Movie)

(Actor)

Jungleground 1995 (Movie)

Jake Cornel (Actor)

No Contest 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Tough and Deadly 1995 (Movie)

(Actor)

Resort to Kill 1994 (Movie)

(Actor)

Back in Action 1993 (Movie)

Frank Rossi (Actor)

The New Zorro 1989 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Saturday Night's Main Event 1985 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

The Adventures of Superboy 1988 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Tag Team 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Buy and Cell 1989 (Movie)

Cowboy (Actor)

Hell Comes to Frogtown 1988 (Movie)

Sam Hell (Actor)

The Highwayman 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

They Live 1988 (Movie)

Nada (Actor)

Body Slam 1986 (Movie)

Rick Roberts (Actor)

Rock 'n' Wrestling Saturday Spectacular 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

WrestleMania 2 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Three Wise Guys (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

Arguably the greatest villain in the history of professional wrestling, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper's outsized personality made him a legend in the sport and a popular star in action-packed genre films like "They Live" (1988). Born Roderick George Toombs in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada on April 17, 1954, he spent much of his teenaged years on the streets and in halfway houses after a falling out with his father, a Royal Canadian Mountie. Piper found an outlet in pugilistic sports, first as a Golden Gloves-winning boxer, and later in judo and wrestling. He made his professional wrestling debut at the age of 15 and worked as a "jobber" - a wrestler who is assigned to lose matches against main event performers - in various leagues throughout the United States and Canada. The first inkling of Piper's brash wrestling persona emerged in the mid-1970s, when, as a member of Gene LeBell's NWA Hollywood Wrestling league in Los Angeles, he became a gleefully mean-spirited foil, baiting the Mexican-American audience by waging war against the popular Guerrero family dynasty. The attention afforded by these stunts led to even greater infamy in the Pacific Northwest and Georgia wrestling circuits; there, Piper became the "heel," or antagonist fans loved to hate through a combination of brutally underhanded behavior in the ring and a gift of gab that would receive its greatest showcase in the mid-1980s, when he joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF/WWE). League owner Vince McMahon recognized Piper's talents and granted him a segment between matches called "Piper's Pit," which was intended as a talk show. Piper transformed the format into the pulpit for the cult of his stage personality, which combined the extreme physicality, malevolence and ego of comic book supervillians with a wicked talent for verbal abuse and a "Scottish" temper that often sent interviews spiraling into out-and-out brawls. The segment elevated Piper to national attention, even among those who didn't follow wrestling, as the WWF's top heel status at a time when wrestling was entering mainstream popularity through crossover promotion with MTV and "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ); as a result, Piper became a global superstar thanks to exposure in the first Wrestlemania event in 1985, where he battled the league's premier hero, Hulk Hogan. In 1987, Piper left the WWF to try his hand at acting; his debut feature, John Carpenter's "They Live," was a slyly subversive thriller about a drifter (Piper) who discovers an alien invasion. A cult favorite, thanks in part to a memorable line of dialogue improvised by Piper ("I have come to chew bubble gum and kick ass - and I'm all out of bubble gum"), the film did not translate into screen stardom, though he continued to act in low-budget genre films for the next two decades. Piper soon returned to wrestling for the WWF (which became World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc in 1999) and other promotions, including World Championship Wrestling (WCW). By the new millennium, he had graduated from the brash villain du jour to beloved elder statesman and 2005 inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame, By this time, his relationship with the business had become one of necessity; health issues, including a bout with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2006, forced him to continue to wrestle in order to collect his pension. He remained active as a wrestler and actor until 2015, when Piper succumbed to a heart attack in his sleep on July 31.

Milestones

2012

Won last documented match in a tag team with Cowboy Bob Orton against Terry Funk and Mick "Mankind" Foley

2005

Elected into WWF/WWE Hall of Fame

1992

Named WWF/WWE Intercontinental Champion

1988

Starred as an alien-fighting drifter in John Carpenter's "They Live"

1985

Wrestled against Hulk Hogan in Wrestlemania I

1984

Joined World Wrestling Federation and launches "Piper's Pit"

1975

Joined NWA Hollywood Wrestling

1968

Debuted as a professional wrestler at the age of 15

Bonus Trivia

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Adopted his wrestling moniker in the early '70s from his penchant for playing bagpipes while entering the arena and ring. An announcer dubbed him "Roddy the Piper," and the name stuck.

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Lost approximately 50 to 75% in a 1984 bout agaist Greg Valentine, who broke his left eardrum. Piper would later suffer from an equilibrium imbalance that made it difficult for him to maintain balance while wrestling.

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Told Bryant Gumbel in an interview for "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" that due to drug use and ill health during his years as a wrestler, he did not believe that he would reach the age of 65. Piper died in 2015 at the age of 61. 

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Piper enjoyed a recurring role on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" as Da' Maniac, a character that parodied Mickey Rourke's role in "The Wrestler," which itself was inspired by Piper and his performance in "They Live." Piper himself would appear on "The Jimmy Kimmel Show" during an interview with Rourke to praise the film and his performance.

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Piper gave mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey his approval to bill herself as "Rowdy."

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