If there ever was a eight wonder of the world in pro
wrestling, the award would go undoubtely to Andrè Roussimoff, better
known as Andrè the Giant.
Born from Bulgarian origin parents, his ancestors
have genes that causes a change in the body metabolism. Like his grandfather,
Andrè will become a giant of near 7 feet. Already at age 12, he
was at a height of 6 feet 3 inches and weighting 200 pounds !
He trained at gyms which were used by pro wrestlers.
While working as a salesman in Paris in his late teens, Èdouard
Carpentier discovered him and started to train the giant to become a wrestler.
He started his career in Montrèal in 1971 as Jean Ferrè
who was used as a kind of a super hero wrestler, capable of beating two
heels and knock them each other on the head. The crowd liked him right
Many wrestling talent scouts passed by Montrèal
to discover the wrestling wonder. Mostly Japanese scouts invited him to
the land of the Rising Sun to continue his successful career. The giant
was a smash hit over there. But it was Vince McMahon Sr. from the World
Wide Wrestling Federation (the future WWF) who offered him the push he
needed to become an icon in 1978. He changed his Jean Ferrè gimmick
to Andrè the Giant in the United States. He toured from promotion
to promotion and his kindness touched all wrestling fans who met him.
He came back for several galas for INTERNATIONAL WRESTLING
in Montrèal between 1981 and 1983. His most notorius rivalry was
with a Japanese wrestler who injured him : Killer Khan. Brought by Eddie
Creatchman who loated this "Big Idiot" as he said, Andrè
avenged the humiliation by beating the wild Khan before a capacity crowd
in June 1981. He also tag team with the champ Dino Bravo and his longtime
friend who will soon become his foe : Hulk Hogan.
He joined later Vince McMahon Jr.'s World Wrestling
Federation. No one will forget the humiliations he faced against BlackJack
Mulligan (and his trick black glove), but especially from one late Big
John Studd, to whom he cutted his hair in front of a TV audience in 1984
aided by the notorius Bobby "the Brain" Heenan. However, the
giant had his revenge on the first WRESTLEMANIA in 1985, when he gave
the big guy a body slam lesson...
But Bobby Heenan, despite his hatred from the giant,
has eyes for him. In 1987, Jesse "the Body" Ventura launched
the infamous rivalry that would bring to one of the biggest matches in
pro wrestling : Andre the Giant vs Hulk Hogan. Suddenly, the giant had
become a heel, and Bobby Heenan took him under his wing. WRESTLEMANIA
3 in Detroit would stage the showdown, and Andrè lost one of his
rare matches against the Hulkamania leader... It would mean also the start
of the decline of popularity for the mega wrestler...
At a point, Andrè would seek his revenge. He
got it at the hands of Ted DiBiase, who was the top heel at the time.
In a pay-per-view event, Andrè beats Hulk Hogan for the belt and
gives it afterwards to DiBiase who becomes the WWF champ. Andrè
got paid for this coup, and this shocked many betrayed wrestling fans.
Andrè became a WWF tag team champ for four months in 1989 with
Haku (who wrestled under the name of King Tonga and today's Meng), but
his failing health and his overweightness forced him to retire in 1990.
In 1992, he was introduced into the WWF's Hall of Fame...
In his private life, Andrè got married and
had a daughter. The television and movie world noticed his height to portray
giant caracters. It was Lee Majors who used him first in two episodes
of the SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN as he played the role of the Bionic Bigfoot.
In Quèbec, he was guest star to a couple of french speaking sitcoms.
(In one of them, he played a klutzy houseman) In the movies, he played
his own role in MICKY & MAUDE and a monster in CONAN THE DESTROYER.
But it was in the 1990's hit movie THE PRINCESS BRIDE where he got his
movie success, beside Billy Crystal, who will become one of his best friends
and later will dedicate him a movie called MY GIANT...
In January 1993, after attending a WCW reunion, Andrè
the Giant died from a heart attack. The Gentle Giant has entered into
the legend of pro wrestling...
(source : SlamWrestling, Steve Sleagle, Lutte.com)