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'The Animal' Recalls 'Almost Killing a Guy' Behind Romeyn's Pharmacy in Royal Oak and More

At age 76, Jim Myers, better known as George "The Animal" Steele, entertained wrestling fans Thursday at the Royal Oak Barnes & Noble with stories of bouts with The Sheik, Dick the Bruiser and Andre the Giant — and  some "jerk" he met in the alley behind the former Romeryn's Pharmacy at 11 Mile and Main Street when he was 15.

When Myers was a student at nearby Madison High School, he had a friend who was having trouble with a "big guy," he writes in his new book "Animal." The 6-foot 2-inch Myers, who was known to his friends at the time as "Moose," watched his friend Dave getting pummeled behind Romeyn's (now the site of Cantina Diablo's) until he could not take it any more. Myers kicked the attacker in the face so hard he thought he killed him.

"The next day at school, the rumors were flying. The big guy just got out of Jackson Prison, he was a heavyweight boxing champion, he was a powerlifting champion, he ate small children for lunch and their dads for dinner...and he was going to come to Madison High  to kill me," Myers writes on page 22 of his new book.

The large crowd at the bookstore ate up Myers' stories of the glory days of his wresting career and his personal life — he played football at Michigan State and went on to teach and coach wrestling and football at Madison High. Many of his former classmates and students were in the audience.

Myers dished on The Animal's green tongue, why he ate turnbuckles and his true relationship with Miss Elizabeth. On a more serious note, he talked about his battle with dyslexia, Crohn's Disease and his personal faith. Setting aside his bravado for a moment, Myers spoke briefly about his relationship with Jesus.

To learn more about the wrestler described as "the missing link," pick up a copy of "Animal" ($24.95) or meet him in person this Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble in Troy, 396 John R. Road.

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