Dean Winters, an actor best known for playing “Mayhem” in a famous ad campaign for insurance giant Allstate, told PageSix he is in constant pain after illness and amputations he endured in 2009. 

In that year, Winters reportedly suffered from a bacterial infection. He told reporters at the time he went into cardiac arrest for over two minutes during the rush to the hospital, but the actor later recovered.  

Still, the bacterial infection and a later case of gangrene, a condition that affects body tissue suffering from blood loss, necessitated the amputation of two of his toes and half of a thumb. 

Even now, Winters said, the pain stemming from the operations is unbearable. 

Dean Winters: What Happened in 2009 Still Hurts

Dean Winters, 57, said to PageSix on Tuesday that the frequent pain from losing three appendages is still palpable in his day-to-day life. 

“I haven’t taken a step since 2009 without being in pain,” the actor told the celebrity gossip outlet. “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.”

The actor — also memorable for his stint playing Tina Fey’s boyfriend in the NBC sitcom 30 Rock — said he’s learned to adjust to the constant pain over the last 11 years. 

“It’s a very weird dichotomy. It’s like, it’s very hard to figure out. Nothing you can do about it,” he told PageSix. “I’ve been sucking it up because, you know, the alternative is not a place where I want to be.”

Winters also told the outlet that his iconic “Mayhem” role almost never came to fruition. 

The Allstate insurance campaign launched in 2010, though Winters said to PageSix that he initially turned the role down — perhaps due to the frequent pain he experience as a result of his illness the previous year. 

Eventually, Winters agreed to play the part — but only because “Allstate was relentless,” he said. 

Dean Winters also said that he’s managed to find some amount of humor in his plight. 

“It’s crazy — if you look in the Webster dictionary, the Old English definition of the word ‘mayhem’ is ‘one with amputations,’” he told PageSix

According to the gossip outlet, insurance company Allstate has plans to revive the “Mayhem” character in a new advertising campaign. 

Dean Winters said that while what happened in 2009 still affects his daily life, he looks forward to new film, television and commercial roles.
Dean Winters said that while what happened in 2009 still affects his daily life, he looks forward to new film, television and commercial roles. Photo credit: Shutterstock

‘Rescue Me’ Actor Has Big Plans 

Winters, also famous for playing Johnny Gavin on FX’s comedy-drama series Rescue Me, told PageSix he has big plans for the upcoming holiday season. 

For one, he is starring in an upcoming film, Christmas Vs.The Walters, due in theaters on Nov. 5. 

The movie follows “Diane Walters, an overburdened mother of two with a third child on the way,” as she “strives to create the perfect Christmas while her loving but dysfunctional family falls apart around her,” according to IMDb. 

Winters will also star in NBC’s upcoming miniseries based on the hit Netflix documentary Tiger King called Joe Exotic. The actor will reportedly play Jeff Lowe

“I took the job in hopes that people who hadn’t seen the documentary would just get really angry and just shut these zoos down because there’s no reason anyone should have any of these wild cats in their own possession,” he said. “It’s just horrible.”

But most importantly, Winters told PageSix, he looks forward to spending the holidays with family. 

“I come from a big Scottish-Irish family, and we celebrated Christmas a lot,” he said to reporters Tuesday. “Our whole lives, but I’m single with no kids, so I don’t have the immediate experience at home. But […] I rely on the rest of my family for that.”