Matt Osborne, best known for his role as the original Doink The Clown in the WWF during the mid-1990′s, was dead earlier today in Texas. He was 56 years old.
WWE issued a statement on his passing:
Reports indicate that Matt Osborne, aka the original Doink the Clown, has passed away. A rugged brawler in promotions like Mid-South Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling, Osborne made a major impact in WWE under the greasepaint of a prankster named Doink — one of the most enduring personas of the early ’90s.
WWE is saddened by the news of Osborne’s passing. Our deepest condolences go out to Osborne’s family, friends and fans.
Osborne started off as a high school wrestling star in Portland, Oregon and later debuted in pro wrestling in 1978 as “Maniac” Matt Borne. He worked his way up the ladder in Portland Wrestling but never truly broke though do to various outside the ring issues.
Then in 1991, he was signed by WCW and turned into Big Josh, an avid outdoorsman and was sometimes accompanied by bears during entrances on pay-per-views.
His big break came after that when he was hired by the WWF and made into Doink the Clown donned in white makeup and a big, neon green wig. But he was not a friendly clown but instead turned into an evil clown pulling pranks on other wrestlers.
As much as this became the role that Osborne was best known for, his run as Doink the Clown in the WWF only lasted about one year after he was released due to substance issues.
He had a brief stint in ECW but mostly worked for various independent groups for the rest of his career.