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Allstate's 'Mayhem' actor reflects on pain tolerance after three amputations

Wonderwall logo Wonderwall 11/2/2021 Mark Gray

Dean Winters, the man who many know as "Mayhem" from the Allstate Insurance commercials, hasn't had a pain-free day in over 12 years, not since he had multiple amputations.

"I haven't taken a step since 2009 without being in pain," he told Page Six. "I've got neuropathy on, you know, on a whole different level where I can't feel my hands and my feet. But if I stepped on a pebble, it's like I go through the roof."

Dean Winters © Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/Shutterstock Dean Winters

Back in summer 2009, the former "Oz" alum, 57, went to the doctor with a bad fever. While in the doctor's office, he collapsed and was rushed via ambulance to a local hospital. While en route, Dean technically died, as his heart stopped beating for over two minutes. After medics revived him, Dean spent three weeks in the ICU. The hits, however, would continue to come. 

During his recovery at home, the "Rescue Me" star contracted a bacterial infection and suffered through multiple operations and gangrene, which resulted in the amputation of two toes and half of a thumb.

"It's a very weird dichotomy. It's like, it's very hard to figure out. Nothing you can do about it," he said of living through the pain. "I've been sucking it up because, you know, the alternative is not a place where I want to be."

Dean Winters © Andy Kropa/Invision/AP/Shutterstock Dean Winters

In some ways, Dean is perfect for his "Mayhem" character, who always causes chaos and destruction wherever he goes. 

The longtime actor, who had a memorable role as Tina Fey's boyfriend on "30 Rock," revealed he was actually in the hospital undergoing a 10th surgery when he initially turned Allstate down, but he added that the insurance company was "relentless." 

"It's crazy if you look in the Webster dictionary, the Old English definition of the word 'mayhem' is 'one with amputations,'" Dean said. 


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