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Home > Real Men > Entertainment > Andre "the Giant" Roussimoff

Andre "the Giant" Roussimoff


Born May 19, 1946, in Grenoble, France.
Died January 29, 1993, in Paris, France.


Andre the Giant RoussimoffAndre Rene Rousimoff was born in 1946 to Boris and Marian Rouismoff, who were both over 6 feet tall. He suffered from acromegaly, also known as gigantism. Andre's large size was not uncommon to his family, as his Bulgarian grandfather topped out at 7' 8" tall.

Andre left home at the age of 14, already standing over 6' 3" and weighing more than 200 pounds. He moved to Paris where he worked at a furniture store and developed his skills as a rugby player. When he was 17, he was discovered by wrestlers while working out in a gym. They showed him some of their moves, and shortly after he was asked to fill in for an injured wrestler. He immediately took to the profession of wrestling, and under the name Jean Ferré he honed his skills around the world.

By his mid twenties, Andre was already standing over 7 feet tall and weighing over 350 pounds. He continued wrestling throughout Europe and Africa until 1971, when he first came to North America. He continued wrestling under the name Jean Ferré in Quebec, Canada, but after initial strong crowd reaction, the crowds dwindled. Realizing a change was in order, he arranged for a meeting with Vince McMahon, Sr., owner of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and professional wrestling's premier promoter.

McMahon quickly realized the potential of Andre if promoted properly, and began booking Andre not only in the U.S. but all over the world. They key to the success of the giant, he figured, was to limit his exposure in areas, so that every time and place that Andre went it was special. He also realized that the name Jean Ferré would do nothing in America, and rather than rename him with an extravagant "wrestling name," McMahon gave him the straightforward name of Andre the Giant.

Andre the Giant quickly became a household name as he became one of the most popular wrestlers ever and one of the most recognizable professional athletes in the world. In the ring, Andre was unbeatable, both figuratively and literally. The WWF touted him as being an unbeatable giant, and in fact in the ring, if Andre didn't want to lose, he didn't.

Andre continued as the cornerstone of the WWF in the 1980's, even after Vince McMahon, Jr. took over the company and took it nationwide. Despite his numerous years in the federation as a fan favorite, Andre never had held the WWF Heavyweight title. It wasn't until 1988, after Andre became a rule breaker, that he finally won the title from Hulk Hogan.

By then, Andre's health had started to fade, and in their much hyped WrestleMania III match in front of 90,000+ at the Silverdome, Andre "passed the torch" on to Hogan as the most popular wrestler. There was some concern on both McMahon and Hogan's part before the match as to whether or not Andre would actually let Hogan win, but Andre saw that his wrestling career was fading, and even allowed Hogan to become the first person to body slam his 500+ pound body. Andre did continue to wrestle on occasion for most of the rest of his life, although he was limited to mostly tag team duty as his health continued to worsen.

Andre had many other pastimes in addition to wrestling, including raising horses and livestock on his ranch in North Carolina, and acting on television and in movies. Andre had plans to start acting even more after his wrestling career was totally finished.

Andre the Giant with FriendsAndre's size also allowed him to drink more than virtually anyone else, and stories of his alcohol consumption are almost legendary. He would on average consume a case of beer throughout the day, and usually at least a bottle of French wine with each meal. He once was reported to have consumed 117 bottles of German beer in a day. He also used his great size and strength for practical jokes, often single-handedly moving friends' cars while they were in restaurants.

Andre's health continued to worsen, until 1993 when he passed away while in France to attend his father's funeral. His ashes were spread across his ranch in North Carolina. Andre did have a small family, with one daughter, and countless friends from his long career. The WWF started its own wrestling Hall of Fame in 1993, and made Andre the lone original inductee.


Measurements as of WrestleMaina 3: March 29, 1987.
Height: 7 feet, 5 inches Weight: 520 pounds
Chest: 71 inches Calves: 22 inches
Thighs: 36 inches Wrist: 11 inches
Hand: 16 inches Biceps: 21 inches
Forearms: 17 inches Neck: 24 inches
Shoe size: 24
*Measurements may be exxagerated. If you can't trust the WWF/WWE, who can you trust? It is believed that Andre was about 7 foot 1 inch at his max, and probably closer to 6 foot 10 inches during his later life, due to back surgeries and posture problems.

Andre the Giant on the web... - Andre's official website
Andre the Giant on Wikipedia.


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