Everyone knows that Andre the Giant was larger than life, but it’s easy to forget just how tall he really was. Andre the Giant displayed signs of gigantism, a disorder that causes the body to produce excessive growth hormones. As a result, Andre the Giant grew to be nearly 7 foot 4 inches tall. Here, we have some photos of Andre the Giant that really put his size into perspective as well as some incredible facts about his life.
1. Fast growing
Andre the Giant (whose birth name was André René Roussimoff) was born on May 19, 1946 in Coulommiers, Seine-et-Marne, France. By the age of 12, he was 6 foot 3 inches (191 cm) tall and weighed 200 pounds.
At age 14, Andre left home in pursuit of new opportunities. Five years later, at the age of 19, he returned home to see his parents. When he got home, his parents initially did not recognize him because he had physically changed so much since the last time they had seen him.
3. Gigantic appetite
It surely takes a lot of food to adequately give energy to an individual who stands over seven feet tall. According to Tim White, who was a former professional wrestling referee and close personal friend of Andre the Giant, the famed wrestler could easily eat up to 12 steaks and 15 lobsters in one sitting. However, according to White, he “didn’t do that often, but if he felt like putting on a show and having some laughs, he would go ahead and do that.”
4. Huge jokester
Although Andre the Giant was a danger in the wrestling ring, he had a huge sense of humor when he wasn’t fighting. He was known to play practical jokes on his friends, which often included moving his friends’ cars. At one point, Andre figured out he could move (as in completely relocate) small cars without any sort of assistance. While his friends were inside a bar or restaurant, Andre would move their vehicles without them knowing. He would reverse the direction of the parked car, or even move it into a really tight parking spot, making it difficult for his friends to get out once their evening had wrapped up.
5. Heavy drinker
Andre the Giant was known for having an unquenchable thirst — for alcohol! Rob Reiner claimed that Andre drank 20 bottles of wine on a movie set, while Ric Flair claimed that he once drank 106 cans of beer in a night. Andre’s favorite beer was Molson Canadian (pictured here in his hand), and supposedly, he would drink about two cases of it every day.
6. Larger than life
Andre the Giant’s size was unbelievable. At his biggest, Andre wore size 22 shoes, and his wrist was the equivalent to that of a gorilla. His fingers were so large that a silver dollar coin could easily pass through his rings.
7. Give or take a few inches
Although Andre the Giant was typically described as 7-foot-4 inches, his passport dubbed him just under 7-foot-2 inches. However, in the 1980s, Andre underwent a back surgery which shaved a few inches off his height. After the surgery, Andre the Giant stood around 6-foot-10 inches.
8. A tab nearly as big as he was
While working on the movie The Princess Bride, Andre would often take the cast out for drinks at the end of the workday. The cast would try to keep up with Andre, which often resulted in massive hangovers on set the following day. By the time The Princess Bride had wrapped up, Andre’s bar tab was nearly $40,000.
9. A not-so-delicate situation
According to former WWF star Brutus Beefcake, Andre once caused quite a commotion on a 14-hour flight from Tokyo to the US. During the long flight, Andre left a lasting impression on his fellow passengers with an unforgettable mid-flight incident.
Beefcake shared the story with Wrestling Shoot Interviews. Allegedly, Andre felt nature calling during the flight. However, he was unable to fit in the airplane’s bathroom so flight attendants gave him a large trash bag and escorted him to the area where they prepare meals, closing the curtains for privacy.
The aircraft was hit by an astonishingly foul odor as Andre relieved himself. Beefcake recalled, “I’ve never heard anything like it. The sounds emanating from there were astonishing. People were gagging, puking, crying, and screaming, while the rest of us were laughing uncontrollably.” Passengers were even falling out of their seats and collapsing onto the floor, according to Beefcake, who said it must have been the “world’s biggest poo.”
The situation became so intense that Beefcake found it difficult to breathe amid the chaos. “I couldn’t breathe. He must have half filled-up a garbage bag full of [waste].”
10. Gone, but not forgotten
Andre the Giant died in his sleep on January 27, 1993, at the age of 46. His cause of death was congestive heart failure. People diagnosed with acromegaly commonly experience organ deterioration over the span of their lives.
Andre wanted to be cremated, but crematoriums in Paris could not accommodate his large body. As a result, his body was flown back to the United States to be cremated. His ashes weighed 17 pounds and were scattered on the Roussimoff Family Ranch in Ellerbe, North Carolina. Andre the Giant was the first person to be inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame after his death.