The Incredible Life of Andre the Giant
Like many other kids during the golden age of professional wrestling, I was obsessed with what was then the WWF.
Every week, here in Canada, we had the show, Superstars of Wrestling. Even before we had a VCR, my dad would record the audio onto a cassette of Saturday Nights’ Main Event. I was too young to stay up, but this still allowed me to keep up with everything.
I loved Hulk Hogan and all the characters that seemed like they were out of the pages of a comic book. They were all larger than life. And one, in particular, was literally and figuratively larger than life-Andre the Giant. I was equal parts astonished and genuinely frightened of him. I couldn’t believe a human being like this actually existed.
His career spanned decades, but it was in the 80s when he really shined.
The Origins of Andre the Giant
But let’s go back to the origins of this mythical person. Andre Rene Roussimoff was born on May 19, 1946, in Grenoble, France. He was the son of Boris and Mariann Roussimoff, who owned a farm in the small village of Molien. Andre was born with a rare condition called gigantism, which caused his body to continue growing throughout his life.
Despite these challenges, Andre still played sports, including sorcery and Rugby. But when he was around 17, he really started growing. Despite these rapid changes, he kept up his training for rugby, and this is when he was first introduced to wrestling.
Also attending his gym were several wrestlers. They all got to know each other and showed Andre some of the basics on how to wrestle. One day, a regular was hurt, and they asked Andre to fill in. And this is when the journey began.
His Wrestling Career Begins
Andre was looking for a ticket out of the family farm. Maybe this wrestling thing could give him the life he dreamed of. At this point, Andre was around 19 years old and is now about 6'10 and over 300 pounds. He obviously stood out. As big as he was, he was still incredibly athletic and could pull off the moves of the smaller wrestlers. It would not be hard to promote him. But…