9 episodes

In 1960s Los Angeles, after the catastrophic Watts riots, an outsized character emerged — one who found an unexpected way to unite people across race and class. Odds are you’ve never heard of him. From LA Times Studios, the team behind “Dirty John” and “Man in the Window,” comes “Larger Than Life,” a docu-series about Big Willie Robinson, a 6-foot-6, muscle-bound street racer who preached peace a quarter-mile at a time. Cops and criminals, movie stars and miscreants, even Crips and Bloods — out at the drag strip, Big Willie could get them all to see eye to eye, easing tensions and making L.A. a safer and more unified place. For a time, he was a celebrated figure in L.A. — but today his legend has faded. What caused him to fall into obscurity? Reported, written and hosted by Daniel Miller from the L.A. Times. Produced by L.A. Times Studios and Neon Hum Media. Photo Illustration by Wondery.

Larger Than Life Wondery

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.2, 679 Ratings

In 1960s Los Angeles, after the catastrophic Watts riots, an outsized character emerged — one who found an unexpected way to unite people across race and class. Odds are you’ve never heard of him. From LA Times Studios, the team behind “Dirty John” and “Man in the Window,” comes “Larger Than Life,” a docu-series about Big Willie Robinson, a 6-foot-6, muscle-bound street racer who preached peace a quarter-mile at a time. Cops and criminals, movie stars and miscreants, even Crips and Bloods — out at the drag strip, Big Willie could get them all to see eye to eye, easing tensions and making L.A. a safer and more unified place. For a time, he was a celebrated figure in L.A. — but today his legend has faded. What caused him to fall into obscurity? Reported, written and hosted by Daniel Miller from the L.A. Times. Produced by L.A. Times Studios and Neon Hum Media. Photo Illustration by Wondery.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
679 Ratings

679 Ratings

Sarah giggy ,

Fascinating Story about a fascinating man

Really enjoyed this story. This is a man who deserves to be known for all of the good he did.

superman tonic ,

Good Story, judgy reporting

Amazing story about Big Willie, his influence on LA gangs and his deceptions. But I would agree with another reviewer that the reporter came off judgmental. It felt like a nerdy white guy constantly belittling this black guy coming up in the 60s. There was a lack of respect. Possibly the wrong reporter to tell this story

Lewylewy84 ,

Super fun and interesting

I loved this podcast which is like one part The Fast and the Furious and one part civil rights history. Tells a great story about LA street racing culture centered on Big Willie, a completely larger than life character. Totally worth your time.

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