Andre the Giant: His parents named him Andre Rene Rousimoff, but we knew him as The Eighth Wonder of the World, Andre the Giant.
For two decades, from the late 1960s through the mid-1980s, Andre the Giant was the highest paid professional wrestler in the business and a household name across the globe. Promoters fought tooth and nail to book Andre, as his presence on a card all but guaranteed a sell-out. Fans cheered his every move and mobbed him on the street as if he were a great big Beatle.
For proof of his drawing power, look no further than Wrestlemania III in 1987. The main event was Andre vs. Hulk Hogan.
The show drew the first million-dollar gate in wrestling history, set a pay-per-view record that lasted a decade, and set the all-time indoor attendance record for any live event ever—78,000+ butts in seats at the Pontiac Silver Dome in Detroit—destroying the previous record set by some rock band called the Rolling Stones.
His rematch with Hogan two months later, broadcast live on NBC, attracted 33 million viewers, making it the most watched wrestling match ever.
Known to his friends simply as “Giant” or “Boss,” Andre was born on May 19th, 1946, in Grenoble, France, the child of Russian immigrants. Shortly after his birth, he was diagnosed with a rare glandular disease, acromegaly, which caused his body to over-produce growth hormones.
As a result, Andre grew to a height of somewhere between 6’11” and 7’5” and a weight of over 500 pounds (his actual height and weight have been speculated about for decades—the business is notorious for inflating wrestlers’ statistics—but Andre’s illness sometimes made him slouch or bow his shoulders, so he might well have been the advertised 7’5”). He first wrestled as Andre the Butcher, but it was Vincent J. McMahon Sr., owner of New York’s World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF), who christened him “Andre the Giant.”
Who holds the record for most beer drinking?
You won’t find it in the Guinness Book of World Records, but Andre the Giant holds the world record for the largest number of beers consumed in a single sitting. These were standard 12-ounce bottles of beer, nothing fancy, but during a six-hour period, Andre drank 119 of them.