Poffo was born in Columbus, Ohio, the elder son of Judy and Angelo Poffo. His father was Italian American and his mother was Jewish. His younger brother is former professional wrestler Lanny Poffo, better known by his ring names "The Genius" and "Leaping Lanny Poffo." He is a graduate of Downers Grove North High School in a suburb near Chicago, Illinois. He attended Southern Illinois University and graduated in 1971. He later moved to Lexington, Ky and lived there for many years.
Savage was a second-generation professional wrestler; his father Angelo Poffo was a well-known wrestler in the 1950s and 1960s, who was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not! for his ability to do sit-ups for hours on end. Randy's brother Lanny had a moderately successful career as a wrestler, too, most notably under the names "Leaping Lanny Poffo" and "The Genius." Savage was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals organization as a catcher out of high school. He was placed in the minor leagues to develop, where he mostly played as an outfielder in the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, and Chicago White Sox farm systems. Savage was 18 when he began playing minor league baseball; one of his teammates on the 1971 Gulf Coast League Cardinals was Larry Herndon who was also his roommate. Savage would to swing a bat into a hanging car tire as a regular training exercise in order to strengthen his hands and make sure he utilized his legs during swings, the technique was so effective that Herndon adopted it and used it during his own career as a baseball coach. Savage injured his natural (right) throwing shoulder at one point so he learned to throw with his left arm instead. The team was managed by Jimmy Piersall. Savage's last season was 1974, when he played for the Tampa Tarpons. He played 289 games in four minor league seasons, batting .254 with 16 home runs and 66 RBIs.
Savage first broke into the wrestling business in 1973 during the fall and winter of the baseball off season. His first wrestling character, "The Spider", was similar to Spider-Man. He later took the ring name Randy Savage at the suggestion of Georgia Championship Wrestling (GCW) booker Ole Anderson, who said that the name Poffo didn't fit someone who "wrestled like a savage".
Savage eventually decided to end his baseball career and become a full time wrestler, working with his brother and father. He wrestled his first match against Midwest territory wrestler the "Golden Boy" Paul Christy. Savage worked with his father and brother in Michigan, the Carolinas, Georgia, the Maritimes, and the eastern Tennessee territory run by Nick Gulas.
After a while, his father felt that his sons were not getting the pushes they deserved so he started the "outlaw" International Championship Wrestling (ICW) promotion in the mid-American states. Eventually, ICW disbanded and Randy and Lanny entered the Memphis scene, joining Jerry Lawler's Continental Wrestling Association (their former competitors). While there, Savage feuded with Lawler over the AWA Southern Heavyweight Championship. He also teamed with Lanny to battle The Rock 'n' Roll Express; this feud included one infamous match on June 25, 1984 in Memphis, where in the storyline, Savage injured Ricky Morton by piledriving him through the timekeeper's table, leading to the Express winning by disqualification. Later in 1984, Savage turned babyface and allied with Lawler against Jimmy Hart's First Family stable, only to turn heel on Lawler again in early 1985 and resume the feud with him over the title. This ended when Lawler beat Savage in a Loser Leaves Town match on June 8 in Memphis, Tennessee.
Savage married Elizabeth Ann Hulette on December 30, 1984. She later became his valet in the WWF; however, they separated in the summer of 1992 and their divorce was finalized on September 18, 1992.
Elizabeth Hulette was found dead in the home of professional wrestler Lex Luger on May 1, 2003, from a drug overdose. According to a 2003 shoot interview with Savage's brother, Lanny Poffo, Savage had no animosity towards Luger, and felt that Elizabeth brought about her own death due to her drug use.
On May 10, 2010, Savage married his long time girlfriend, Lynn Payne, making it his second marriage.[
On the morning of May 20, 2011, Savage died after a single vehicle automobile accident while driving on a street in Seminole, Florida, a town on the Pinellas County side of the Tampa Bay area. He was 58 years old. It is suspected he may have had a heart attack, which led to his losing control of the vehicle and crashing into a tree. His wife Lynn was also in the automobile but received only minor injuries. This report was later confirmed by Savage's brother, Lanny Poffo.
"Macho Man Randy Savage Slim Jim Commercial"
thumb|center|350px|Macho Man Randy Savage Slim Jim Commercial #1