Captain Lou Albano, who became one of the most recognized professional wrestlers of the 1980s after appearing in Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” music video, died Wednesday. He was 76.

Albano, whose real name was Louis Vincent Albano, died of natural causes in Westchester County in suburban New York, said Dawn Marie, founder of Wrestlers Rescue, an organization that helps raise money for the healthcare of retired wrestlers.

World Wrestling Entertainment called him one of the company’s “most popular and charismatic legends.”

With his trademark Hawaiian shirts, wiry goatee and rubber bands hung like piercings from his cheek, Albano was an outsize 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 music video, playing a scruffy, overbearing father in a white tank top who gets shoved against a wall by the singer.

Partly because of the success of Albano’s 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. [read]

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