Captain Lou Albano, the legendary professional wrestler and manager who became better known to a generation as Cyndi Lauper’s long-suffering fictional father, has passed away at the age of 76.
Albano broke into professional wrestling in 1953 but it wasn’t until he developed the loud, brash personality of Captain Lou Albano and moved into announcing and managing that he achieved major success. While he would go on to manage numerous wrestling greats including The Magnificent Muraco, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Andre the Giant, his greatest success came with tag teams: 15 separate tag teams earned championship belts under his tutelage.
In the 80s, Albano became known to mainstream audiences through several Cyndi Lauper music videos: “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” “She Bop,” “Time After Time” and others, a collaboration that eventually spawned the crossover “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection” promotion. The success of that venture helped ensure that Albano would remain a touchstone of the 80s pro wrestling phenomenon but for many gamers, he’s better remembered for portraying the famed Italian plumber Mario on the short-lived Super Mario Bros Super Show!, which ran from September to December 1989.
Albano also appeared on other shows of the era, including 227, Miami Vice and Complex World, and had a brief return to wrestling in 1994, guiding the Headshrinkers to the Tag Team Championship. According to the Miami Herald, Albano, who stood 5’10” and was billed at over 300 pounds during his wrestling days, had been receiving hospice care at home for an undisclosed illness prior to his death.