Mike Greenstein

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Mike Greenstein
Born Morris Greenstein
(1920-12-06)December 6, 1920
Wichita Falls, Texas, U.S.
Died February 16, 2016(2016-02-16) (aged 95)
Jupiter, Florida, U.S.
Occupation former flight instructor, mechanic, businessman
Known for strength athlete
Relatives Joe Greenstein (father)

Morris "Mike" Greenstein, also known as the Mighty Atom, Jr., (December 6, 1920 – February 16, 2016) was an American strength athlete.

Early life[edit]

Mike Greenstein was born in Wichita Falls, Texas on December 6, 1920[1] at a time when his father, legendary strongman Joe Greenstein ("The Mighty Atom"), was working in the oil fields in Texas. The family later moved to Brownsville, Brooklyn where the senior Greenstein began his shows as a miniature Samson in vaudeville and Yiddish theaters.

The senior Greenstein soon earned the nickname the Mighty Atom. Around that time, the junior began training with his father and his three brothers at a young age.

During World War II, he joined the Army Air Corps as mechanic MOS. During that time, his father was touring the country entertaining troops and did shows to raise money for war bonds. Inspired by his father, the younger Greenstein decided to start an act of his own to entertain the troops at the various bases he was stationed in by bending bars, breaking chains, and pulling passenger-filled cars with his hair or his teeth. He also performed shows at theaters in the towns near the bases where he was stationed at during his off duty liberty.[2] He later attended aviation school in Manhattan, and subsequently worked at Trans World Airlines for 19 years. He also worked at local Waldbaum’s and photographed weddings.[3]

Career[edit]

Living his later years in Rockaway, Queens, New York, Greestein was a strength athlete by profession, known as the Mighty Atom, Jr. He was capable of pulling a car with his bare teeth, nearly to his dying day. Greenstein was an active advocate of cancer prevention; his father had died of cancer, and his wife and daughter both predeceased him due to breast cancer.[4]

He was a contestant on season 9 of America's Got Talent at 93 years old and passed through the auditions round, but he was eliminated in the Judgement Round.[5]

Greenstein died on February 16, 2016 while visiting family in Florida.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

A fact regarding Greenstein appeared on an April 1, 2013 Ripley's Believe It or Not comic strip.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ System, VA NY Harbor Healthcare. "The Entertainer - VA NY Harbor Healthcare System". www.nyharbor.va.gov. Retrieved 2016-06-05. 
  2. ^ "Meet the WWII veteran, age 91, who can pull a car with his TEETH... and his father was the great strongman 'the Mighty Atom'". Mail Online. Retrieved 2016-06-05. 
  3. ^ Kilgannon, Corey (2012-06-29). "For Mike Greenstein, 91, a Truck Is No Match for His Teeth". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-06-05. 
  4. ^ Kilgannon, Corey (2012-06-29). "For Mike Greenstein, 91, a Truck Is No Match for His Teeth". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-06-05. 
  5. ^ "America's Got Talent: Season 9". America's Got Talent. NBC. 
  6. ^ "Farewell Mighty Mike | February 19, 2016 | www.rockawave.com | Wave of Long Island". www.rockawave.com. Archived from the original on March 2, 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-05. 
  7. ^ Graziano, John. "Ripley's Believe It or Not by John Graziano, April 01, 2013 Via @GoComics". GoComics. Retrieved 2016-06-05.