King Kong Bundy, the biggest man I ever saw undressed, is dead. He was 61. No official cause of death has yet been issued.
Bundy was listed at 457 pounds when I had a private audience with him before a match in 1999. He was long out of his prime by the time I spoke with him. He’d spent the ’80s at or near the top of the card at events in basketball arenas and football stadiums. But here he was, just me and him, in a small high school locker room, as he strapped on a big singlet and got ready to work in front of a few hundred people in the suburban hell of Woodbridge, Va.
But despite his long professional fall, he couldn’t have been nicer. “Call me Chris,” he told me. He called me “Brother.”
And he told me much of his life story. He said he’d been bartending and rather aimlessly going to community college in his native New Jersey under his real name, Chris Pallies, when he answered a phone call from a pro wrestling recruiter who, as the story goes, had dialed a wrong number. But by the end of their accidental conversation, Pallies’s life had direction.