Andre the Giant is a legend that everyone knows and recognizes, whether it’s from wrestling or his role in The Princess Bride. He was born on May 19, 1946 in Grenoble, France.
He is the only one in his family of 7 that suffered from Acromegaly, also known as Giantism. Giantism is due to an excess of hormones which causes your body to never stop growing. Andre continued to grow his entire life. When he died, he was 7 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 500 lbs.
Andre was known as “the 8th Wonder of the World” and these pictures will show you why:
Andre the Giant was also known as “The Gentle Giant” despite his great strength and the name he made for himself in the world of wrestling. He was also very generous, refusing to let anyone pay for him when they went out to eat. He once bodily lifted Arnold Schwarzenegger off his feet and carried him back to his table stating, “I Pay” when Schwarzenegger was about to pay their bill. (This photo was actually on the set of the film Conan.)
When Andre first came to America from France he was known in the wrestling world as “Monster Eiffel Tower” but then started wrestling under the name Jean Ferre.
Andre was 6′ 7″ by the time he was 17 years old, but due to his condition he just kept growing. In this picture, he is 19 years old and within two years he shot up to 7′ 4″ tall.
Andre The Giant was known for being a drunk. He once drank 119 beers in 6 hours, an average of 1 beer every 3 minutes! Another time he drank 127 beers in a hotel lobby and passed out, but no one could move him because he was too big so they just left him in there until he woke up.
It’s easy to forget how big he is by himself, until you see him holding something that puts him in perspective, like this 12oz beer can.
In 1987, he drew the largest crowd recorded consisting of over 90,000 fans at the Pontiac Silver Dome in Michigan when he wrestled Hulk Hogan at III. It is rumored that Andre helped to cement Hogan’s career by telling him to throw him in the ring, breaking his winning streak of over 3,000 consecutive wins (he hadn’t lost a match since 1971) because he knew his career was soon ending. Hogan picked up the over 7 foot tall Giant and body slammed him to the mat where he pinned him for the win.
Whenever Andre would travel to Japan, it is reported that the bathrooms were too small for him so he would, take care of business in pools or on newspapers.
Stephanie McMahon (the child in the picture under Andre’s arm) has been life-long friends with Andre The Giant.
Sources say Andre once flipped a car with four people inside who had locked themselves in after harassing Andre at a bar where he was drinking alone.
Andre left home when he was 14 and got a job moving furniture. He discovered wrestling when some fellow wrestlers saw him working out in a gym and taught him some wrestling moves when he was just 17 years old. Later when one of the professional wrestlers was injured, Andre wrestled in his place.
Women often asked Andre to take pictures while being held by him. This was taken on Croisette Beach in Cannes, France in July of 1967. Andre The Giant’s first role in Hollywood was as “Bigfoot” in 1975 on The Six Million Dollar Man. He was the first actor to play Bigfoot.