Luther Cleve Dean (born 15 December 1953) was a professional armwrestler from a town called Pavo in Georgia, USA. He died on 10 May 2011 at the age of 58.
Life and Career
Growing up on the farm, raising hogs and harvesting cotton and tobacco, certainly created a work ethic in addition to the sheer strength we see in many pictures and YouTube videos. Cleve may physically have been "larger than life" but he had the personality to match and enjoyed traveling and people. Cleve enjoyed 10 straight years as the World Champion Arm Wrestler and competed in the Worlds Strongest Man in 1979 and 1980. He was able to travel all over the US, to Sweden, Italy, and Japan. He admitted that he liked the attention and talking to people. Across the board, fellow athletes and fans throw out words like "amiable" and "family man."
Cleve was set apart from other armwrestlers by his brute, farm-raised strength. Young Cleve wasn't strong from hours in the gym but manual labor. Many news articles of the day described how he could "pick up a full-grown hog under each arm." In 1980, he did explain to People Magazine that he felt he owed his strength and skill to growing up on his father's hog farm. "When you farm like us,” he says, “you use all your muscles.” In 1985, the LA Times reported that "sometimes just for fun he would pick up the rear end of his 7 ton John Deere."
Reports vary a bit, but at nearly 6 ft 7 inches and competing at weights ranging from 300 plus to around 450 lbs, he was hard to miss. Uniquely, Cleve could pull right or left-handed. Reports have his hands measuring 8.5 to 10 inches from his palm to the tip of his 3rd finger, 6 inches wide and wearing a size 20 ring on his ring finger.