R.I.P. 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper, Dead At 61

Someone start playing “Taps” on the bagpipes, because the world has lost another entertainment icon. Rockerick Toombs, better known as “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, is dead at age 61.

A legend in the squared circle of pro wrestling, Piper passed away due to cardiac arrest on Thursday night and was found in his Hollywood home on Friday, according to TMZ. Back in 2006, Piper was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, though it was later revealed that he had beaten the cancer, and he was apparently still free of the disease when he died.

Born in Saskatchewan, Canada in 1954, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper entered the sports field in his teens as a boxer, amateur wrestler, and martial arts maestro. He joined several wrestling circuits before finding international fame with the WWF in the early 1980s, where he could be found donning a kilt and a set of bagpipes, with a wild look in his eyes that made it impossible to know if he was going to hug someone or beat their face in. It didn’t hurt that he was an expert with the microphone, either. After over a decade in the Vince McMahon-run WWF – during which he won the Intercontinental and Tag Team belts one time each – he jumped over to the WCW, where he could again battle Hulk Hogan, but in a different setting. He later returned to the WWF-turned-WWE, at one point fighting with a broken neck, and he continued making appearances up until 2014. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.

Piper complemented his wrestling career with work on both the big and small screen, and he’s arguably remembered fondest for his role of Nada in John Carpenter’s 1987 cult sci-fi classic They Live, which features one of film’s most memorable lines about kicking ass and chewing bubble gum. He could be found all over TV in the 1990s, with roles on The Outer Limits, Highlander and RoboCop, to name a few. And who can forget the wonderfully named Hell Comes to Frogtown?

He stayed TV-busy in recent years as well, with roles in Adventure Time, Cold Case and Breaking In, and it’ll be hard to forget him acting even more deranged than normal as Da’ Maniac on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. On the movie side, he was recently seen in a selection of indie genre flicks, including Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies and Don’t Look Back. He’s also got several projects in post-production phases, so we’ll definitely be seeing Piper pop up again and again over the next year or two, which should give his fans something to look forward to during this time of mourning.

We at CinemaBlend offer up our thoughts and condolences to all of Piper’s friends and family. The world will be a little less rowdy in his absence.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.