Feel like we’ve done a lot of memorial posts lately. Too many. For every MMA fighter, boxer, jiu-jitsu player, kickboxer and pro wrestler that has impacted our lives over the past 30 or so years, you will be remembered on MiddleEasy.com. So here’s to you Big Van Vader. Rest in Peace.
Three time WCW world heavyweight champion, scary SOB and pro wrestler Vader passed away on Monday night (Jun. 18). Throughout his 25 year plus career Leon White had many career highlights. For our sake his guest star appearance on the 90s teen show Boy Meets World wasn’t peak Vader but it was peak pro wrestling.
Whatever the hell this was we were into it and it still holds up 20 years later.
Vader on Boy Meets World.
— Ryan Satin (@ryansatin) June 20, 2018
In 2016, WWE.com spoke with Boy Meets World creator Michael Jacobs about why Vader was cast on the show.
WWE.COM: Why was Vader a natural fit to play Frankie Stechino’s father?
JACOBS: We wanted [a character] who is just this loving father who moonlighted as a villainous wrestler. It was this oddball, very funny, very loving blue collar relationship. It was funny because there was absolutely no continuity whatsoever on “Boy Meets World.” None. So what we came up with was, “OK, they have absolutely no money. Frankie lives on the wrong side of the tracks, utterly and completely, but his father is the world champion.” So somehow, nobody caught us on this.
WWE.COM: How would you say Vader adapted to the role of actor?
JACOBS: He meshed right away. There was memorizing lines and they were different kinds of lines than just grabbing a mic and vamping on, “Here’s what I’m gonna do to this guy.” It was really this father who had to learn how to be a real parent to this very troubled kid and the audience bought it immediately and that added to Vader’s confidence. Once he got over the initial, “What is this and what is it going to be?” he took to it very easily. He was absolutely a natural entertainment presence.
WWE.COM: Vader is an intimidating dude — were any of the cast members afraid of him?
JACOBS: His persona on television struck a little fear into the hearts of the kids on the show for about six seconds. But kids are the first to see right through you and they realized that this was a very good guy and there was a lot of clowning around. All the kids on the set just tagged up and went after him, so they probably made his life a little bit of hell.
Vader was larger than life and could be intimidating upon first glance. But he was kind, warm, and funny. It was nice to relive our time in Anaheim together by reading this article from 2016. Thanks for the memories, V. #RIPVader https://t.co/nU79bMSlE9
— Danielle Fishel (@daniellefishel) June 20, 2018
Full video of Vader’s guest spot below