The Most Notorious Andre The Giant Myths Explained

Andre Rene Roussimoff is a textbook case of making lemonade out of the lemons life gives you. Born May 19, 1946, in Grenoble, France, Andre, per Biography, suffered from acromegaly, commonly referred to as "giantism," which causes the body to excrete (and continue to excrete) excessive amounts of growth hormone, especially affecting the head, hands, and feet. And a giant he was: 6'11" and 500 pounds at his peak. He worked as a wrestler in Montreal named Jean Ferre, and in Japan as Monster Roussimoff before 1973, when he embraced his identity as Andre the Giant (AKA "The Eighth Wonder of the World") in a match at Madison Square Garden. Eventually he became world-famous, in part because of his role as Fezzik in the 1987 film The Princess Bride. Someone of that size and professional stature is bound to have some stories attached to him, true or not — though as an old theater professor once said, "All my stories are true. And some of them really happened." So what really happened to Andre?

While it's said that Hulk Hogan, who measured 6'7" and 302 pounds at in his prime, was the only wrestler to manage to bodyslam the 500-pound Andre, taking him down at 1987's Wrestlemania III, according to, at least three other wrestlers claimed that achievement. For that matter, Hogan himself managed it twice, both in 1980 — at Shea Stadium and again in Philadelphia.

Acting, in and out of the ring

Someone that size must have an enormous appetite, right? And that's true enough — remember that his biological disorder caused his body to continuously secrete growth hormone — and he supposedly downed 156 beers in one sitting. claims it's true, citing eyewitnesses like Dusty Rhodes. While shooting The Princess Bride, costar Cary Elwes reports Andre would drink beer not from a glass or bottle, but from a pitcher. Andre nicknamed that drink "The American" — 40 ounces of beer at a time. Elwes believes that the alcohol helped Andre deal with the pain of not only his inherent biological condition, but also the damage he had sustained from years in the ring, per Mental Floss. Despite the copious amount of suds, "not once did I notice any sign of the alcohol affecting him," wrote Elwes in his book As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.

Andre was also famously affable, but once crossed or angered, things changed. One evening he was being harassed at a bar by four guys. He followed them outside, they got into their car, and Andre flipped the car over — with them inside. It's generally considered an urban legend — but it's also true that Andre really didn't know his own strength. All of the stories are true. And some of them really happened.