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Ox Baker, a reviled pro-wrestling heel who grappled with Kurt Russell‘s Snake Plissken in the 1981 sci-fi film Escape From New York, died Monday of complications from a heart attack. He was 80.
A 6-foot-5 bald giant from Waterloo, Iowa, with impressively bushy eyebrows, Baker started in pro wrestling in the early 1960s and was known for the “heart punch” that took his opponents’ breath away.
“Just got the sad news that my friend and wrestling great, Ox Baker, passed away a couple of hours ago. RIP OX,” WWE color commentator Jerry “The King” Lawler wrote on Twitter.
In John Carpenter‘s post-apocalyptic classic Escape From New York, Baker played the savage warrior Slag whom Plissken kills with a baseball bat to the head.
Baker gave stuntman Dick Warlock all he could handle during rehearsal, and Warlock offered this piece of advice to Russell before his scene with the big guy: “good luck.”
Baker (real first name: Douglas) also appeared in Jackie Chan’s Battle Creek Brawl (1980), was a Russian wrestler in Blood Circus (1985) and played The Butcher in an installment of the horror anthology Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear (2013).
Watch Baker in 1981 on the game show The Price Is Right (“Douglas, I sure hope you are in a good mood today,” host Bob Barker says after sizing up the contestant):
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