'Britain's Hardest Man' Had Over 3,000 Fights And Was Mates With The Krays
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Notorious hardman Lenny McLean who had thousands of unlicensed fights was once friends with gangsters before becoming a cult figure in Britain and bagging television and film roles.
The brawler who earned his reputation as ‘Britain’s hardest man’ grew up in Hoxton, London in the 1950s, with an abusive stepfather.
Lenny, who was a nightclub enforcer and feared around the city, befriended notorious gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray and fell into a life of crime.
After serving 18 months in prison, Lenny was sacked from his job after beating up his boss on a construction site. Eventually, Lenny got into bare-knuckle fighting but his violent past and criminal record prevented him becoming a licensed boxer.
Lenny began competing in fights at Frank Warren’s National Boxing Council in 1970, where he is said to have excelled.
Weighing 20 stone, he went onto win more than 3,000 fights building his reputation as ‘Britain’s hardest man’ and becoming a cult-like figure across the country.
The brawler eventually fell into acting after working as a bodyguard to the cast of EastEnders.
He starred in Guy Ritchie’s 1998 crime thriller Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, cementing his status as a legendary figure.
It was during the filming of Lock, Stock that Lenny fell ill in what was later diagnosed as lung cancer.
He died shortly afterwards on July 28, 1998, a month before the film’s release.
A film titled The Guv’nor was made about Lenny’s life seen through the eyes of his son Jamie.
Kelly, Lenny’s daughter, wrote a book about her father titled: My dad; The Guv'ner.
In it she recalls her volatile relationship with her dad and says doctors believe he likely suffered from bipolar disorder.
She told The Mirror in 2018: “There were times I hated him and I looked at him like he was a bully.
"It got to the stage where I couldn’t even laugh at his jokes.
“We did live in fear of him, but I didn’t understand he had this condition.
“I wish he was here now so I could get him some help. I don’t think he enjoyed life.
"He always looked like he had the world on his shoulders.”
Despite his passing, the 20-stone hard man's legacy lives on as eagle eyed fans have highlighted how the brawler was likely the influence for Brad Pitt’s character in the 2000 movie ‘Snatch’
In a reddit post with over 26,000 upvotes, a user said: “I was watching an old Lenny McLean clip and realised that the 2000 movie Snatch, has Brad Pitt perfectly recreated the first few seconds of the clip identically. From the headbutt, to the touching of his nose, to his unphased reaction, to the right haymaker that knocks out his opponent.”
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock/ BritFlicks