There have been many wrestlers through the years, tens of thousands of them over time. Through all of them there is only one that is still a legend, one who still carries on a high level of mystique, even after his death. Of course, I am talking about Andre the Giant. All of he stories of Andre, of his life, of his career, and of his exploits, are nothing short of legendary.
André René Roussimoff, was more commonly known as Andre the Giant. He was from France, and was not only a wrestler, but he acted a bit as well. He was not just called a giant, he actually had gigantism, which as you may have guessed by the name is a disorder that is characterized by you know, being huge. He had acromegaly, which is when the size of your bones increase, even in your face. Andre the Giant was 7’4″ tall and weighed in at 520 pounds. So if you have not figured it out yet, this dude was huge. But that was not the only thing about him that made him a star- he also had a vibe about him that, despite his enormous size, he also was really sweet and even childlike. He was also kind of a crazy guy at heart and was involved in plenty of strange episodes throughout his life.
In fact, Andre the Giant did so many things that were just plain odd, that it is worth revisiting some of them. Here are 15 of the oddest facts about Andre the Giant.
15. He Was Too Big for the School Bus
Of all of the odd facts about Andre, this one might be the oddest of all. Samuel Beckett is thought of as one of the most influential writers of all time. He was a poet, and a playwright who was so well respected that he won the Nobel Prize. He wrote Waiting for Godot. At one point he built a little cottage in Andre’s home town to get away from the hustle and bustle of Paris. One of the people that helped build the cottage was Andre the Giant’s father. Andre was just 12 but believe it or not, he was too big for the school bus, he was already 240 pounds and well over 6 feet tall. Andre’s dad was too poor for a car and even if he had one, Andre still might have been too big. So Nobel prize winner Beckett used to give Andre a ride to school in the back of his truck. How is that for a good trivia question?
So kids, when I say don’t try this at home, I really mean it- do not try this at home. This is insane. Andre had an incredible ability to drink and was known for drinking a ton. But even with all that said, the numbers that he is said to have put away are truly nothing less than staggering. According to this article “When Hulk Hogan toured Japan with Andre, the giant would drink tall boys like water on the bus. He would crush the can in his hand (that’s his hand in the photo), and throw it at Hogan. Whenever the bus stopped, Hogan had to buy Andre as many cases of beer as he could carry back onto the bus. So Hogan was his beer wench.” 156 cans of beer in one sitting is literally enough to kill you and your whole family. Do. Not. Try. This. At home.
13. In Japan, He Had To Use Bathtubs For A Toilet
Here is something that you probably don’t have to think about too often: being too big to use the bathroom. Unless you are Andre the Giant, and you are in Japan, you probably don’t have to think about it at all, ever. And I know, right now you are sitting there wishing I would shut up because you don’t want to think about it. Well, too late, you read it, you can’t unread it. When Andre the Giant was in Japan, he often had to use bathtubs, or even a newspaper, instead of a toilet, because he was just too big. Apparently our toilets in the United States and in France are big enough, but in Japan, it was a no go, and I mean that literally. Of course it is obvious that in Japan, Andre actually was a real-life giant, and not just a guy who was just really big.
12. He Was Too Big For The Army
I don’t know if this is a good thing for Andre or a bad thing, it all sort of depends on your perspective I guess. In 1965 he received a draft notice from his home country of France asking him to report for duty. They soon changed their mind. First of all, to be in the army you have to wear a uniform and they did not have any shoes that would fit him. They also did not have any bunks long enough for him to sleep in. They also even came to the conclusion that he would be too big to fit in the trenches. Can you imagine how long it would take to build a trench for Andre the Giant? The whole thing is kind of too bad for France, as Andre could have been an army all unto himself. I am pretty sure he did not mind not going to the army all that much though.
11. He weighed 17 Pounds When Cremated
Andre sadly passed away early, at the age of just 46. He died of heart failure. Most people and animals that are abnormally large don’t live all that long. He was cremated and his ashes weighed an amazing 17 pounds. As sad as his death was, Andre kept it all in perspective before his death. He said: “I have had good fortune. I am grateful for my life. If I were to die tomorrow, I know I have eaten more good food, drunk more beer and fine wine, had more friends and seen more of the world than most men ever will.” And with that quote we are once again reminded of just how cool Andre the Giant was. He lived large in pretty much every way possible and died with grace as well.
10. He Once Drank 16 Bottles of Wine In Four Hours
I know that we already told one story about the drinking exploits of Andre, but we need to do another. According to this “On one tour, Andre’s Japanese sponsors rewarded him with a case of expensive plum wine. Andre settled down in the back of the bus and started drinking. Four hours later, the bus arrived at the next venue, and Andre was polishing off the last bottle of wine. Sixteen bottles of wine in four hours is a considerable feat, but it gets better. Andre proceeded straight to the ring and wrestled three matches, including a twenty-man battle royal.” Apparently the wine did not phase Andre even in the slightest and later that night once again sent Hulk Hogan out for a few cases of beer.
9. He Once Picked Up Arnold Schwarzenegger And Placed Him On A Car
I know that in some circles Arnold Schwarzenegger is considered a totally big dude. I mean, if I saw him coming at me in an angry way, I certainly would think he was pretty large, at least back in the old days. The story goes that Arnold was out eating dinner with Wilt Chamberlain and Andre. I know, it sounds like a the beginning of a really bad joke, but I swear it is true. Anyway, at one point it turns out that Arnold paid for dinner and Andre got excited and picked him up out of his chair and put him on a car in the parking lot. Now normally I would think that meant that Andre was drunk acting that way, but when we consider how much booze it takes him to get that way, I am going to assume he was just in a really good mood.
8. He Would Eat 12 Steaks And 15 Lobsters At Once
Tim White, who was a WWE ref and good friend of Andre, said it was not that uncommon for him to go into a restaurant and eat 12 steaks and 15 lobsters in one sitting. He said. “He didn’t do that often, but if he felt like putting on a show and having some laughs, he’d go ahead and do that.” This makes one realize how much better wrestling pays then competitive eating. I am sure that if wrestling and eating paid a similar amount there is absolutely no way we would have seen Andre the Giant in the ring, we would have seen him at the Coney Island Hot Dog eating contest instead. Can you imagine how many hot dogs that guy could eat? Personally, I do not want to even think about it. Oh, the humanity!
7. He Is Said to Have Flipped a Car Over With Four People Inside
As cool as Andre seems to be, occasionally he would get mad at people, and if he did get mad at people, I would think that it would be absolutely terrifying. The story goes that at one point Andre was drinking at a bar when four people started messing with him. Okay, I have to stop here for a quick second. Who the Hell would do this? Anyway, eventually he got mad and went after all of these idiots who ran out of the bar and locked themselves inside of a car. At this point Andre decided to do what any good giant would do, and he flipped the car over with the people inside. Serves them right, though. Who says “Hey, isn’t that Andre the Giant getting drunk at the bar? Let’s go screw with him!” An idiot, that is who.
6. The Washington Redskins Offered Him A Tryout
At one point, back in the ’70s the Washington Redskins thought it might be good to see if Andre the Giant wanted to play football. According to a report, “Tim Temerario, the Redskins director of player personnel at the time, called the offices of the World Wide Wrestling Federation, now World Wrestling Entertainment, to inquire about the 7′ 4″ grappler, whose real name was André René Roussimoff.” This actually made some sense. While a lot of you just remember Andre as this big lumbering guy who could barely move around, at one point he was this big lumbering guy who moved around really well. No one seems to be sure what happened here, but it is most likely Andre decided to just keep wrestling. The NFL did not pay all that much back then, and NFL teams tended to have rules that wrestling did not. Like drinking 100 beers before a game would probably be frowned upon.
5. His Role In Princess Bride Was Written Specifically For Him
If you have never seen the movie The Princess Bride then for the sake of all that is holy, drop everything and go see it now. It is one of those rare movies that your girlfriend loves, and you will too. Andre played Fezzik, who was one of the most entertaining characters in a movie that was filled with all sorts of entertaining characters. When he signed on, he thought he only had one scene in the movie but the role was much bigger than that. It turns out that William Goldman, who is the person who wrote The Princess Bride, wrote the part specifically for Andre the Giant. If you have not seen the movie, this might not make a lot of sense, but if you have seen it, then there is no way you could see anyone else playing that character.
4. Andre Was The Inspiration For A Street Fighter Character
Final Fight is a bit of a Street Fighter knockoff, but is a good game nonetheless. Some of the characters are members of The Andore Family, who are a bunch of wrestling thugs. They all draw inspiration from Andre the Giant and are modeled after him. When you think about it, if you were to model a video game fighting character after anyone, who would you choose over Andre the Giant? Sure, he would not be the most fun character to play, as he would basically just stand there and knock his opponent down, but for sheer effectiveness and cult of personality, Andre would top pretty much any other character that existed in the video game world. Just like real life.
3. He Was The First Wrestler In The WWE Hall of Fame
Someone had to be the first wrestler in the WWE Hall of Fame, and when you think about it who possibly could have deserved that honor more than Andre the Giant? According to the WWE’s website, “In WWE, there have been many Superstars who are larger than others, but Andre the Giant has proven to be larger than WWE itself. Throughout the ’70s and well into the ’80s, the so-called “Eighth Wonder of the World” was the company’s leading attraction.” If you were around as a kid at any point during the reign of Andre the Giant you will agree that all of the accolades were true. While everyone else, even the very best of the wrestlers out there, might seem that they were playing a part, Andre never did. He was Andre the Giant, who else could he be?
2. He Played Bigfoot In The 6 Million Dollar Man
Now this is one that sort of slipped a lot of peoples’ minds. At one point, a show called The Six Million Dollar Man, was one of the most popular shows out there. The whole point of the show was that there was this astronaut who is seriously injured when his spaceship crashes. He undergoes a government-sanctioned surgery, which replaces a lot of his body with machine parts, making him a bit of a cyborg. The funniest part now, looking back on it, is that it cost six MILLION dollars for all of this, like that is a big deal or something. Anyway, Andre played Bigfoot on a couple of episodes and battled the Six Million Dollar Man. Everyone talked about it back then, but now it has pretty much been forgotten about. If you want to see some ridiculous video of the fight, then check this out. It is pretty awesome.
1. He Never Worked Out
Of course this makes sense in some ways. If you look at younger photos of what he looked like, he was almost athletic; when he got older he just got big. Not fat really, Andre had that sort of muscular fat thing going on, and even if he was a little fat at the end, who was going to tell him that? Not me, that is for sure. But the word is that Andre never worked out. Not ever. Can you imagine how strong he would have been if he trained? Maybe the strongest person ever. But Andre was always was too zen for that. He already was incredibly strong- why should he have worked to get stronger? He had beer to drink and fun to be had. Which is all part of what made Andre so amazing.