Man Mountain Dean – Born on June 30, 1891 Frank Leavitt was one of the biggest, literally, wrestling stars in Southern California of the 1930s. Leavitt enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1911 at the age of 19. It was in the Army where he first began his pro-wrestling career by wrestling on the side as Soldier Leavitt for a little extra cash in 1916. He wrestled throughout the East Coast after World War I, but didn’t find much in the way of success. In 1928 he became a traffic cop in Miami, but was fired in 1930 for visiting with the notorious gangster Al Capone, who he considered a friend. After being fired as a traffic cop, he returned to wrestling, but continued to find little success. After changing his name in the early 1930s and growing out his beard, and with his wife Dorris as his manager, he began to find some success wrestling in Boston. In July 1934 Man Mountain Dean made his debut under that name in Southern California and became the biggest thing going. In his first three matches at the Olympic Auditorium went six minutes and seventeen seconds combined. On October 10, 1934 Man Mountain Dean and Jim Londos drew 23,765 to their match at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, an attendance number that wasn’t topped in Southern California until Lou Thesz and Baron Michele’s match in 1952. Dean’s first dozen appearances in Los Angeles drew promoter Lou Daro $130,000, twice would he would normally draw. Dean continued wrestling in Southern California throughout the 1930s, and was even suspended by the California State Athletic Commision in 1939 for using a banned move. When World War II broke out, Dean reenlisted in the Army. After the war he Dean returned to wrestling, drawing big crowds in the Midwest during a feud with Maurice “The French Angel” Tilluet. He finally retired from wrestling in 1946. In addition to his wrestling career, he became a regular in motion pictures, appearing in 38 films. Man Mountain Dean died of a heart attack on May 29, 1953 in Norcross, GA.
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