Andre the Giant was one of the most recognizable wrestling icons to have ever lived, with talent just as big as his body.
Most people knew this wrestler as one of the most jovial and fun-loving people in Hollywood, with very few knowing his wrath.
This French wrestler went on to travel the world for the career that he loved, despite the job often resulting in even more pain for him.
There are few celebrities like Andre the Giant who can gain generations of new fans even well after his untimely death.
How Tall Was Andre The Giant?
Andre the Giant was listed at 7’2” on his French passport despite having been described as being 7’4” throughout his wrestling career.
Nobody knows exactly how tall he was before he passed away because his growth disorder made it difficult to get a consistent height.
Andre Roussimoff was best known for his massive size and his ability to both wrestle and act.
Roussimoff had always been a large human, even weighing around 13 pounds at birth.
For the majority of his childhood, Roussimoff was simply seen as a large child.
His height began to get abnormally large when he was about 14 years old, but Andre the Giant wouldn’t be diagnosed with acromegaly officially until he broke his ankle in 1981.
By the time Roussimoff learned he had the hormone disorder, it was too late to use treatment to preserve Roussimoff’s height.
Treatment still could have extended the wrestling legend’s life expectancy, but he feared that the treatment would get in the way of his wrestling career.
Despite the pain caused by his size, Andre the Giant was grateful for his massive size.
The world around him was not designed for a person his size, but the movie star believed that his height was a gift from God and was eager to use his gift to make a living entertaining people.
Andre Roussimoff first began wrestling in France in 1966, using his first stage name “Jean Ferré.”
After building popularity in his home country, Roussimoff took his wrestling career to Japan and began going by “Monster Roussimoff.”
In 1971, Andre the Giant began wrestling in Quebec, Canada.
Only two years later, Roussimoff would change his name again to the stage name that he is best known for after teaming up with Vincent McMahon Sr. to join the World Wrestling Federation (later known as World Wrestling Entertainment).
Why Didn’t Andre The Giant Like Randy Savage?
Andre the Giant didn’t like Randy Savage because of his use of baby oil and steroids.
Roussimoff felt that both were adding unnecessary elements to the ring.
While Randy Savage’s brother Larry Poffo was certain that it was the baby oil, Roussimoff’s daughter stated that it was Savage’s steroid use that caused her father to dislike the popular wrestler.
Randy Savage used baby oil to help his muscles and tan stand out more when under the ring’s stage lights, but this also made Savage harder for his opponents to get a proper grip on him.
Whenever Roussimoff would complain about the baby oil, Savage would reply by saying that baby oil was his gimmick in the same way that Roussimoff’s gimmick was being big.
Andre the Giant’s size wasn’t something he could control, unlike Savage’s use of baby oil and steroids.
Roussimoff had a zero-tolerance policy when it came to the use of performance-enhancing drugs like steroids, and this policy was most visible when it came to “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
Fans of professional wrestling during this time loved seeing Andre the Giant go against Savage because Roussimoff was known for being much more aggressive with Savage than anyone else he ever wrestled.
According to Hulk Hogan, the only reason Andre the Giant didn’t kill Randy Savage was fellow professional wrestler Elizabeth Ann Hulette, better known as Miss Elizabeth.
Andre the Giant knew that Hulette was friends with Savage and had no interest in ruining his relationship with her.
Although Roussimoff couldn’t stop the professional wrestler from using steroids, he would often have outbursts about Savage’s use of baby oil just moments before shows.
Hogan has even recounted the times when Roussimoff would shout “NO BABY OIL!” as the upset wrestler stomped his massive feet.
Did Andre The Giant Drink A Lot?
Yes, Andre the Giant was known for drinking massive amounts of alcohol in a single sitting.
Although some may attribute his alcohol consumption to his sheer size, many of the people closest to him point to the severe chronic pain that Roussimoff would constantly endure.
Before entering a match, there was a time when Andre the Giant asked Gerald Brisco to get him six bottles of Mateus wine and ice them down.
Only a few minutes before traveling to the ring, Roussimoff drank all six bottles and even got additional bottles of wine after the match.
During an hour-long layover, Andre the Giant drank between 102 beers and 108 beers in 45 minutes.
Since planes are hard for even average-sized people to fit in, they were incredibly painful for Roussimoff to use despite having to go on them frequently.
While Roussimoff was out with his The Princess Bride co-star Cary Elwes at a bar, he once ran up a tab that cost him $40,000.
Roussimoff had gotten multiple mixed drinks called “The American,” which included 40 ounces of a variety of alcoholic drinks that were put into a pitcher.
According to Elwes, it tasted like airplane fuel, and the actor watched Roussimoff drink multiple orders of this drink.
Elwes has been known to stand up for his co-star when people question his drinking problem.
While touring Japan with Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant once drank an entire case of Pouilly-Fuissé white wine during a 3-hour bus ride.
The case consisted of 12 bottles of this extremely strong French wine.
While appearing on The David Letterman Show, Andre the Giant admitted to drinking 117 beers in one sitting.
That means the professional wrestler drank multiple gallons of beer when the average person can only drink a liter.
Why Andre the Giant Loved The Princess Bride So Much
Andre the Giant loved The Princess Bride so much because he loved his castmates and how nobody treated him like he was any different from the rest of them.
He also appreciated the fact that his role as Fezzik wasn’t some kind of monster or idiot.
Cary Elwes can’t recall a single time that Andre Roussimoff was ever not smiling while on set, despite the intense pain he was in the entire time.
Elwes fondly looks back on how gentle and generous his co-star was, claiming that Roussimoff was more than willing to give you the shirt off his own back.
Mandy Patinkin was one of the many cast members who were able to get Roussimoff’s perspective on all those working with him.
Roussimoff had explained to Patinkin that he liked the attention he naturally attracted, but he didn’t like feeling like a freak.
On the last day of filming, Andre the Giant offered to take pictures with anyone who wanted to.
Cast members and production team members brought their families to meet the wrestling icon, lining up like they were going to Disney World.
Roussimoff was eager to meet them all.
Andre the Giant nearly didn’t take the role of Fezzik due to already being booked on a Japanese wrestling tour.
There wasn’t enough money in the film’s budget to buy Roussimoff out of his contract, even though he was the inspiration for Fezzik.
Luckily, the match was canceled and the production team was able to meet with the wrestler in France.
Although Roussimoff’s accent was difficult for the production team to understand, they knew he was perfect for the role.
Andre the Giant’s time filming The Princess Bride gave the wrestler a break from all the staring he had to endure while trying to live his life.
How Much Did Andre The Giant Eat?
Andre the Giant may have been known for eating large amounts of food while dining at some restaurants, but he didn’t eat that much more than anyone else in his day-to-day life.
Although there may be stories of Roussimoff eating 12 steaks and 15 lobsters, Roussimoff would only order these types of meals as a way to entertain himself and his friends.
Andre Roussimoff would normally place orders at restaurants and based his portions on whatever the other person was eating
When he would go out to dinner with Tim White, Roussimoff would get offended if a restaurant gave him a bigger portion than they gave White without asking him.
Roussimoff would send the food back and ask to be served the same amount as White.
The wrestler would only occasionally treat himself to large meals while out in the public.
According to Jackie McAuley, Andre the Giant ate an average amount of food whenever he was home.
The majority of his days at home would consist of the wrestler going out for breakfast and an iced coffee at the local restaurant Dixie Burger with Frenchy Bernard.
The pair would then go out to work on outdoor projects like cutting down trees for about 10 hours around his North Carolina property.
As Roussimoff’s mobility worsened, he would ride his ATV around his property instead.
It was normal for Roussimoff to not come back to eat again until dinner unless it was to have a small yogurt cup as a midday snack.
Once Roussimoff ate his yogurt cup, he would give the nearly empty cup to his miniature dachshund because he found it funny how the small dog would get its head stuck inside the cup.
Roussimoff hated to cook, but he had friends who loved to cook and barbecue frequently.
Did Andre The Giant Have Any Children?
Yes, Andre the Giant had a daughter with Jean Christensen only a few years after first meeting during the early 1970s.
The wrestling legend’s daughter Robin Christensen-Roussimoff has been very vocal about how her father felt about a variety of situations throughout his life.
Due to his work schedule and how difficult it was for him to travel, Andre the Giant and his daughter weren’t able to form much of a familiar relationship before he passed away.
According to his daughter, she only remembers seeing him five times throughout her life.
About half of the times Christensen-Roussimoff saw her father, he was in the wrestling ring.
The only other time she saw her father was when he was in court with her mother.
One of Andre the Giant’s biggest regrets in his life was never being able to form a better relationship with his daughter, despite being incredibly vocal about how much he loved his only child.
Roussimoff didn’t want to ever take his daughter out in public because he didn’t know how she would handle all the unnerving staring that came with his size, which was something he was already self-conscious about himself.
Andre Roussimoff invited his daughter to his North Carolina home multiple times, but she was too young to travel on her own and her parents weren’t on good enough terms for her mother to join her daughter.
There were rumors that Robin Christensen-Roussimoff’s mother was putting a wedge between the father-daughter duo, but the wrestler’s daughter has stated that her mother only encouraged Christensen-Roussimoff to make her own opinion of her father without buying into all that the media had to say about him.
Christensen-Roussimoff remembers her father as a kind and gentle man who never made her feel afraid.
What Stories About Andre The Giant Aren’t Real?
There are multiple stories about Andre the Giant that were spread around wrestling fans that weren’t actually true, despite how rampant the rumors were.
While Roussimoff has stories that are real that seem too crazy to be true, there were some even wilder rumors about the wrestler that weren’t realistic.
When Andre the Giant was introduced to World Wrestling Entertainment, he was known as the man who had never been body-slammed.
While World Wrestling Entertainment may lead you to believe that Hulk Hogan was the first one to take the massive wrestler off his feet, wrestlers such as Stan Hansen, Harley Race, and Kamala all beat Hogan to the accomplishment.
There was news speculation that Andre the Giant had been drafted by the Washington Commanders to act as the team’s linebacker.
Although there was a lunch held between Roussimoff, Washington team director Tim Temerario, and Vincent McMahon, nothing ever came out of this meeting.
Vincent McMahon didn’t admit that the rumor was meant to be a publicity stunt until 2009 when author Michael Krugman interviewed him for the biography Andre the Giant: A Legendary Life.
Fans of the wrestler have heavily blamed McMahon for the sheer amount of false information surrounding Roussimoff’s life.
During Roussimoff’s early career, there was a rumor going around that Jerry “The King” Lawler was able to pin him down.
This rumor was fabricated by Lawler and his friend Bill Apter, who worked as an editor for Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
This public lie angered Vincent J. McMahon, who was ready to take away Apter and Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s ability to feature Andre the Giant.
The problem was rectified by Apter when they released another cover of the story that was titled “Andre the Giant: Wrestling’s Only Undefeated Superstar.”
How Did Andre The Giant Die?
Andre the Giant passed away at 46 years old after suffering from a heart attack in his hotel room in Paris, France.
The heart attack was most likely a result of Roussimoff’s acromegaly and his heart being unable to keep up with his massive body.
Roussimoff had made a trip to France to attend his father’s funeral and decided to stay for two weeks so he could spend some time with his family.
Only a few hours before his death, the wrestler was having dinner with his family.
When the legendary wrestler’s daughter found out about his death, she was filled with a combination of difficult emotions.
She and her mother were so far removed from Roussimoff that they actually missed the phone call that was originally meant to alert them of the tragedy.
Jean Christensen and Robin Christensen-Roussimoff went to listen to the answering machine once they returned home and were shocked by the voicemail that informed them of Andre Roussimoff’s death.
Christensen-Roussimoff remembers her mother immediately breaking down into tears, but she was too confused by her own emotions to cry.
Instead, she went to her friend’s house and didn’t return for five or six hours.
Andre Roussimoff left his daughter a trust that gave her the authority over the licensing of his name and likeness, which meant that royalty checks for any of his works would go directly to her.
Since his passing, Robin Christensen-Roussimoff has been trying to reconnect with her father’s memory.
His daughter has managed to collect some of his old belongings, with the majority of them being from his wrestling days.
She was also the one who allowed for the creation of his recent biopic from 2018, which was highly rated by both longtime Andre the Giant fans and film critics.
Where Was Andre The Giant Buried?
Andre the Giant had his ashes spread at the place that made him happiest, his 3,500 square-foot North Carolina home which was often referred to as simply “The Ranch.”
This property was 200 acres, and Roussimoff used it to raise longhorn cattle and quarter horses.
The Ranch was located in Ellerbe, North Carolina, which only had 1,000 residents while Andre the Giant was living there.
Roussimoff loved the life in the small American town offered.
The professional wrestler had his ashes spread across his beloved home and his dear friend Hulk Hogan gave his eulogy at the North Carolina ranch.
Andre the Giant had just as big of an impact on the small town as he had on the history of wrestling.
Those who lived in the town while Andre the Giant was alive remember their neighbor fondly and made sure to help preserve the wrestler’s history.
The Rankin Museum of American History has an entire section dedicated to their hometown hero.
The section includes a pair of his size 26 wrestling boots, plenty of photos of the wrestler from around town, and even a place where visitors can compare their hand size to Andre the Giant’s actual hand size.
Andre the Giant Was A Massive Part Of Wrestling History
Everywhere Andre the Giant went, he had a reputation for being gentle and friendly.
Roussimoff showed wrestling fans that you could be a manly man without having to rely on fear or drugs like steroids.
This wrestling legend’s legacy is filled with fond memories and plenty of laughter.