United Press – May 29, 1953
NORCROSS, Ga. – Frank S. Leavitt, huge, colorful, onetime wrestler known as “Man Mountain Dean,” died at his Georgia country home today of a heart attack. He was 63.
The bearded giant who pioneered the current vaudeville type of wrestling had not been ill. His wife, Doris, was with him when he died.
The Man Mountain came out of New York’s lower East Side to enjoy a long and never dull career as a football player, wrestler, soldier, bodyguard, sergeant-at-arms, movie actor, and, finally, politician.
He wrestled 6,783 matches and in his heyday commanded between $500 and $1,500 for each mat performance. He was a longtime darling of Hollywood where his thick beard was one of the first gaudy trademarks of showman wrestling.
He began wrestling in New York in 1916 and the late Damon Runyon dubbed him the “Hell’s Kitchen Hillbilly.”
Leavitt began his hillbilly role and came south for his fights. Sportswriter Ed Danforth of Atlanta gave him a new nickname, Stone Mountain Leavitt, after the big rock near here.
Leavitt then went abroad where Stone Mountain became Man Mountain and he took on Dean as a last name. He was Man Mountain Dean from then on.
Leavitt played professional football against some of the greatest performers, including Jim Thorpe. He was a member of Charley Brickley’s New York Giants’ pro football team in 1919-20.
He often bragged that he played football for five colleges and never went to a class. Yet, he graduated from the Atlanta division of the University of Georgia school of journalism at the age of 60.
At 61 he ran for Georgia congressman but was defeated. He also ran unsuccessfully for the state legislature.