Lou Albano

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The Independent Online

"Captain" Lou Albano, who died on 14 October aged 76, became one of the most recognised professional wrestlers of the 1980s after appearing in the video for Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun". World Wrestling Entertainment called him one of their "most popular and charismatic legends."

Albano was born in Rome in 1933, moving as a boy with his family to New York state. He joined the US Army, and became interested in wrestling when he met some wrestlers in the bar where he was working as a bouncer. With his trademark Hawaiian shirts, wiry goatee and rubber bands hung like piercings from his cheek, Albano was a larger-than-life personality who, in a career spanning nearly five decades, was known as much for his showmanship as for his talent in the ring.

His fame skyrocketed when he appeared in Lauper's 1983 video, playing a scruffy, overbearing father in a white tank top who is pushed against a wall by the singer. Partly because of the success of his partnership with Lauper, the entity then known as the World Wrestling Federation forged ties with the music industry. That helped bring it to a wider national audience in the mid-1980s, known as the "Rock 'n' Wrestling" era.

Albano later had a role in the video for Lauper's 1984 song "Time After Time," and he appeared in episodes of Miami Vice and in the 1986 film Body Slam." He played Mario in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, a live-action animated programme, from 1989 to 1991.

Albano spent much of his post-wrestling career as a spokesman and fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.