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Buddy ‘Nature Boy’ Landel Dead: NWA Wrestling Legend Dies At 53

Wed, June 24, 2015 11:46am EDT by Add first Comment
buddy landel dead
Courtesy of WWE

How heartbreaking. The wrestling world has suffered another tragedy. Buddy ‘Nature Boy’ Landel, the flamboyant wrestler who wowed fans of the National Wrestling Alliance in the 1980’s, died on June 22. He was 53.

Oh no. Wrestling fans are once again in mourning as Buddy Landel (real named William Ansor,) the blonde pro-wrestling icon who called himself “Nature Boy,” has died. The legend of the NWA passed away on June 22. He was just 53! So sad.

Buddy died in his sleep while at his Chilhowie, Virginia, reports Us Weekly, just one day after the National Wrestling Alliance superstar was involved in a car crash. He was released by the hospital, and his wife, Donna, reportedly found him dead on June 22.

Known for wrestling in glittery robes and having long, blonde hair, Buddy held many championships during his legendary in-ring career, including the NWA Mid-America Heavyweight Championship four times!

He made his debut in 1979, rising to prominence with his wrestling skill. He was both loved and hated by fans. Buddy captured the NWA National Championship by defeating Terry Taylor at Starcade in 1985. In a legendary match, Buddy faced the rival “Nature Boy,” Ric Flair, in a “Battle of the Nature Boys” in 1990.

Buddy wrested in the WWE a couple times in the mid-1990s. The company released a statement, saying that the “WWE is saddened to learn the passing of William Ansor, aka “Nature Boy” Buddy Landel.” Former WWE head trainer, Dr. Tom Prichard told Knoxnews.com that “He had ‘It,’ ” and that “when he walked into a room, he was loud and funny and you knew he was there. He was extremely talented and did a good job being the ‘Nature Boy,’ in and out of the ring.”

‘Nature Boy’ Buddy Landel: A Life

Buddy was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. He got interested in wrestling when his sister started dating pro-wrestler Barry Orton. Buddy wrestled in high school and transitioned into pro-wrestling in the late 70’s. After wrestling in many regional promotions, Buddy joined the NWA in 1985. He would depart from the NWA shortly afterward, returning to the promotion in 1990. In 2011, Buddy was inducted to the Legends Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame. Buddy is survived by his wife of 34 years, Donna, his two daughters and grandson.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Buddy’s family and friends during this time of loss.

— Jason Brow