André René Roussimoff, perhaps known better to you and me as Andre the Giant, was a French professional wrestler and actor.
If, like me, you’re a fan of WWE, or you spent your childhood watching it when the likes of Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair ruled the ring, you’ll know he was a bit of a legend!
Standing at an incredible 7’4″, Andre the Giant – ‘The Eighth Wonder of the World’ – weighed around 520 pounds – equivalent to one and a half panda bears – or just over 37 stone!
He was undoubtedly one of the biggest figures in the world of sport – literally and figuratively!
January 27, marks 25 years since his death. He was just 46-years-old and had one daughter, Robin.
The cause of Andre’s death was recorded as congestive heart failure, dying in his sleep at a hotel in Paris.
Andre’s size was a result of gigantism caused by excess growth hormone, which later resulted in acromegaly – this caused him well documented pain, specifically joint pain.
To commemorate his life, HBO have made a documentary about the life and times of Andre the Giant and despite previously seeing a teaser trailer, we now get the full length version:
[ooyala player_id=”5df2ff5a35d24237905833bd032cd5d8″ auto=”true” width=”1280″ height=”720″ pcode=”twa2oyOnjiGwU8-cvdRQbrVTiR2l” code=”xxODk1ZTE680O-_Ph9s1C_Zs9z_ccQuo”]
According to HBO, the documentary ‘examines the life and career of one of the most beloved legends in WWE history’:
The ambitious, wide-ranging film explores Andre’s upbringing in France, his celebrated WWE career and his forays into the entertainment world.
André René Roussimoff was born in 1946 in Grenoble, France. In his early teens, he exhibited signs of gigantism though he was not diagnosed with acromegaly until his twenties.
He began his training in Paris at 17 and eventually became known in wrestling circuits around the world.
In 1973, Andre joined the organization now known as World Wrestling Entertainment, where he became a superstar and rival of WWE legend Hulk Hogan.
Bill Simmons was the executive producer for the project and said Andre was ‘a true legend’ and ‘the ultimate unicorn’:
Everyone who ever crossed paths with him has an Andre story — and usually four or five.
I’m delighted to join forces with [director] Jason Hehir and WWE so we can capture Andre’s amazing story once and for all.
The movie is set to include interviews with WWE CEO Vince McMahon as well as the legendary Hulk Hogan – not to mention appearances from the likes of Ric Flair, so I’m sure there’ll be plenty more!
At the age of 23, Andre was picked up by Vince McMahon Sr after making a big impact in Japan and Canada.
He spent the next 20 years of his career with the WWE, even turning down a contract to play in the NFL for the Washington Redskins.
He had a 15-year winning streak and made countless allies along the way, but wrestling fans were shocked when he turned on long-time friend Hulk Hogan in 1987 to team up with the villainous Bobby ‘The Brain’ Hennan.
This is where it hit fever pitch!
The Brain scored Andre his first-ever opportunity at the WWE Championship at WrestleMania III.
The event took place in front of 93,173 WWE fans in Pontiac, Michigan and Andre’s 15-year winning streak ended when Hulk Hogan slammed him to the mat in a torch-passing moment which ignited a new era in WWE history.
I could spend hours writing about Andre’s formidable career and what he did for the world of wrestling, but this is just a snippet.
Fittingly, a year after his passing, Andre was honored by his peers as the first inductee in the, then-newly founded, WWE Hall of Fame.
As WWE put it:
A fitting end to a career of a Superstar so great, so monumental and so larger-than-life itself, that his massive footsteps are permanently imprinted on the WWE Universe.
We’ve not got long to wait until it hits our screen – April 10 on HBO.