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Joe Rollino
Born March 19, 1905(1905-03-19)
Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died January 11, 2010 (aged 104)
Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Residence Dyker Heights
Other names "Kid Dundee", "Great Joe Rollino", "Mighty Joe Rollino", "World's Strongest Man"
Occupation Strongman, weightlifter
Height 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 m)
Weight 150 lb (68 kg)

Joseph "Joe" Rollino (March 19, 1905 – January 11, 2010) was a decorated World War II veteran, weightlifter, and strongman. The son of Italian immigrants, Rollino dubbed himself the world's strongest man in the 1920s, moving 3,200 pounds (1,500 kg) with his back during the prime of his career.[1]

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Early life and career

Rollino was born and raised in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York, one of 14 children. He became a vegetarian as a teenager, and remained one for life. Only 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 m) tall and weighing 150 pounds (68 kg), Rollino began lifting weights in the 1920s and trained for a time with Warren Lincoln Travis. He also took up boxing and toured the US as a boxer, fighting under the name Kid Dundee.

Rollino also became known as a strongman, moving more than a ton, bending nails with his mouth and coins with his bare hands. He often appeared on the Coney Island Festival in the 1920s/30s, being dubbed the world's strongest man. Rollino boasted of lifting 635 pounds (288 kg) with one finger.[1] He once lifted 450 pounds (200 kg) with his teeth.[2]

After retiring from active performing, he worked as a longshoreman and once worked as a bodyguard for Greta Garbo. He also knew such celebrities as Mario Lanza and Houdini. During his later years, he was known for his winter swimming activities. Rollino was part of the Iceberg Athletic Club, a now-defunct swimming club, for more than 20 years.[3]

Military service

He fought in the Pacific during World War II, and was awarded a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts.[2] "He saw that his men were really hurting, getting injured during a battle", Pete Spanakos said, "so he ran onto the field, grabbed two men under one arm, two under another, and brought them back behind the lines. And he did this several times."[3]

Retirement

Rollino, lived a life of relative obscurity, rarely giving interviews or appearing in public. In a 2008 interview, he claimed to have been "born strong". He was married briefly early in his life and then divorced. He later lived with a niece. According to friends and family he was in very good shape, and was still able to bend quarters with his teeth as of his 103rd birthday.[1]

Death

On January 11, 2010, Rollino was hit by a minivan as he crossed a street in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. He died at a hospital several hours later, aged 104.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d "At a Mighty 104, Gone While Still Going Strong". New York Times. January 11, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/nyregion/12ironman.html. Retrieved 2010-01-12. "A few minutes before 7 a.m., as Mr. Rollino was crossing Bay Ridge Parkway at 13th Avenue, a 1999 Ford Windstar minivan struck him. The police said he suffered fractures to his pelvis, chest, ribs and face, as well as head trauma. Unconscious, he was taken to Lutheran Medical Center, where he later died." 
  2. ^ a b Colvin, Jill; Parascandola, Rocco; Siemaszko, Corky (2010-01-12). "Losing the Fight of His Life". Daily News. p. 12. http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2010/01/11/2010-01-11_famed_coney_island_strongman_.html. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  3. ^ a b "The Brooklyn Eagle". http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=27&id=32928. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 

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