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May 19, 2021

10 Interesting Facts About Wrestling Legend Andre the Giant

He stood 7’4” (224 cm) high, weighed in at 520 pounds (236 kg), and was considered “the eighth wonder of the world”. Andre the Giant, aka Andre Roussimoff, is one of wrestling’s most iconic figures, known for his epic WrestleMania bout against Hulk Hogan, as the loveable giant Fezzik in The Princess Bride, and for wrestling undefeated for 15 years. Below are some of the most interesting facts about the wrestling legend:

1. Driven to School by Samuel Beckett


During his youth, Andre had a friendship with Nobel Laureate Samuel Beckett (Waiting for Godot). Beckett, who was living next-door to the Roussimoffs in a house built by Andre’s father, heard how the 12-year-old could not attend school because he was too big for the bus. Samuel decided to drive the 6’3”, 200-pound student to school in the back of his truck, during which time they talked about cricket.


2. He Didn’t Enlist in the Army



Andre almost had to enlist for the French army when he was just 18-years-old. At that time, every 18-year-old male had to enlist for the army in France, but for Andre, his size ended up being an advantage and stopped him from ending up in the army as he was too big to fit into the uniforms.

Instead, he fell through the cracks and was forgotten about, eventually being discovered as a professional wrestler which he started training towards when he was 19.


3. The Highest-Paid Wrestler in the World


In 1974, Andre made his way into the Guiness Book of World Records, however, it wasn’t for the reason you might think. In fact, Andre was listed in the book as the highest-paid wrestler in the entire world, with an annual salary of roughly $400,000, which equates to about $2 million by modern standards.

While he did make a lot of money (and made several wrestling promoters even more), much of Andre’s wealth went towards the expenses necessary to make him comfortable in a world that was far too small for him. He required custom-made clothing, furniture, and even his home in France had extensive modifications. Andre’s bar bills were also extensive, and the cost of traveling to wrestling events in other countries was prohibitive, given the challenges of finding planes and hotel rooms that could manage his bulk.


4. Not the Tallest Wrestler Ever


Andre may have been a true giant, and the Eighth Wonder of the World, but in wrestling history, there have actually been several other wrestlers who stood taller than his 7’4″ height. Many are not that well-known, but among the names on the list is Giant Gonzalez, a former NBA player who spent time in both WCW and WWE, and was an amazing 7’7″. Gonzalez suffered from a similar condition as Andre, and passed away in 2010 due to diabetic complications resulting from it.

Of course, much like The Big Show is now billed as the World’s Largest Athlete, height isn’t the only measurement of size, as Andre also weighed over 500 pounds by the end of his wrestling career. Andre was so large, that when he died, his cremated remains reportedly weighed over 17 pounds.


5. The Greatest Drunk on Earth


Andre’s love of alcoholic beverages was legendary, as he reportedly consumed over 7,000 calories worth of alcohol every day. Several confirmed stories exist of Andre drinking over a hundred beers or several bottles of wine in a single sitting, and he was given the unofficial title of the “Greatest Drunk on Earth”.

In fact, an urban legend (which has never been confirmed) exists which claims that when Andre was having surgery, a problem arose when it came to determining how much anasthesia to use, due to his size, and the doctors allegedly used his level of alcohol tolerance in order determine a basis for the medication. Unfortunately, Andre’s fondness for drinking had a dark side to it, as Andre used it as a form of self-medication due to the massive amount of pain caused by his condition, and also to deal with how awkward his size made him feel in public.


6. Andre Always Paid


While he was well-paid for his work, Andre was never selfish with his wealth. Multiple stories have been told about his generosity, especially when dining with friends. Whether he was invited to attend or taking friends out on the town, when you ate and drank with Andre, you never paid the bill.

One of the most famous stories of Andre’s insistence on picking up the cheque came from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who talked about trying to secretly pay for dinner while Andre was distracted. When Andre discovered what Arnold had done, he enacted a swift revenge on his friend, reportedly picking up the future Governor of California (who, let’s not forget, was not a small man) with the assistance of another friend, basketball star Wilt Chamberlain, and dropping the action star on the roof of his car.


7. His Struggle Getting a Cab


Andre the Giant toured the world throughout his career, competing in different countries including Japan. Everywhere he went Andre was seen as an attraction, but none more so than in the land of the rising sun.

Because of the huge height difference that took place there, Andre was always pointed out and made to be seen as a major star, but he had one particular issue during his time in Japan, which was transport. Andre struggled to fit in most cabs and because of that, many of them drove away from him when they saw him waiting, which meant he often had to be sneaky (if that was possible) in order to try to get one.


8. Issues With the Toilet


As has been previously mentioned, one of the major issues that Andre suffered from was his size, with the legendary wrestler often finding himself to simply be too big to do some of life’s most simple tasks. Whilst he often couldn’t fit in cars and underneath doors, another major issue was going to the bathroom, with Andre finding himself in some tricky situations when it came to using the toilet.


9. Appeared in Multiple Films/TV Shows


Everyone remembers Andre’s role as Fezzik in the film The Princess Bride, however, Andre actually had several roles in both film and TV that are less well-remembered. He appeared on several popular TV shows in minor roles, such as BJ and The Bear and The Greatest American Hero.

He also found his way into more than one Hollywood film in addition to The Princess Bride, including an uncredited role as Dagoth in Conan the Barbarian, where he became friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ironically, in the original casting for The Princess Bride, Schwarzenegger was supposed to play Fezzik, because at the time, Andre was too big of a star to have time for filming a movie!


10. First Inductee Into the WWE Hall of Fame



After Andre’s passing in 1993, WWE established their Hall of Fame, making him the very first and only inductee. At the time, there was no ceremony, and the induction didn’t even take place at WrestleMania. Instead, a video package announcing Andre’s induction was played on an episode of Monday Night Raw. Andre wouldn’t be alone for long, however, as WWE would induct three more classes of Hall of Famers from 1994-1996, before abandoning the concept.

WWE would resurrect the Hall of Fame in 2004 for the twentieth edition of WrestleMania, turning it into the yearly ceremony full of spectacle that continues to this day. In 2014, as part of the promotion for the thirtieth edition of WrestleMania, WWE also created the Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the winner of an annual battle royal at the Pay Per View.




2 comments:

  1. #2 and #4 are negatives. They do not describe who and what Andre was, they simply state individual things that Andre was not. Andre was not in the army. Andre was not the tallest wrestler. Andre was not female. Andre was not a piece of toast. Andre was not a tightrope walker....etc.
    At best, it is sloppy writing. Realistically, it is ignorant drivel.

    ReplyDelete



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