Photo Credit: Dana Kronemaker
Pro wrestling legend Pat Patterson has died in Miami, Fla. after a bout with cancer, he was 79. His decades-long career in sports entertainment remembered his peers through social media.
Born as Pierre Clermont, Patterson began his career in Canada and was recruited to a Pacific Northwest promotion by fellow Montreal native Mad Dog Vachon.
By 1965 Patterson (hometown billed as San Francisco) was paired with Ray 'The Crippler' Stevens, they became tag-team mainstays with Bay Area and Minneapolis-based promotions through the late 1970s. In 1980 Patterson began a tenure with World Wrestling Entertainment that lasted until death. For several years he worked alongside Vince McMahon as a color commentator.
Officially retired from wrestling in 1984, Patterson made many cameos to reprise his in-ring role. He was the first holder of the Intercontinental Championship, a belt typically awarded to mid-level talent. He also provided interview segments on French WWE telecasts, where he played heel, insulting rivals. Patterson served in many capacities including talent-relations and contributing with the expansion of WWE programming. In 2019 Patterson participated in a reunion night and briefly won the '24/7 belt', pinning the reigning title holder backstage. Backstage, Patterson's personal life was known early in his career. His legacy includes being a trailblazer as the first openly gay performer in wrestling.