sábado, 12 de marzo de 2011

Andre the Giant

the gentle giant

At 7'4" and 500 pounds, Andre the Giant could have been famous for his size alone. His drive, talent and ambition, however, proved to be as big as Andre himself, and the wrestler became legendary for his achievements in and out of the ring. 

His parents named him Andre Rene Rousimoff, but we knew him as The Eighth Wonder of the World.

 Born André René Roussimoff in 1946 at the foot of the French Alps, in a town called Grenoble, André was normal-sized at his birth, but with adolescence came an incredible growth spurt — details are hazy, of course, but various stories put him at 6 feet at the age of 12, 6-foot-7 at the age of 17, and 7-foot-4 by 19. 

He had an affliction called acromegaly, a syndrome wherein the pituitary gland overproduces growth hormone. (There are stories that his grandfather in Bulgaria had the same affliction, and grew to a height of 7-foot-8.) 

Legend has it that when he made the long walk to school as a child, he would sometimes hitch a ride from his neighbor, Samuel Beckett. 

As an adolescent, he worked on the farm, completed an apprenticeship in woodworking, then worked in a factory that manufactured engines for hay balers, but none of these jobs brought him any satisfaction.

At 18 years of age, Roussimoff moved to Paris and was taught the art of professional wrestling by a local promoter who knew there would be good money in André's future. 
Roussimoff trained at night and worked as a mover during the day in order to pay living expenses. Roussimoff was billed as "Géant Ferré", taken from the name of a mythical French giant, and began his career wrestling in Paris and surrounding areas. For the next few years, Roussimoff began making a name for himself wrestling in various countries around the world.
Roussimoff made his Japan debut in 1970, billed as "Monster Roussimoff", wrestling for International Wrestling Enterprise. Wrestling there as both a singles and tag team competitor, he quickly won the company's World Tag Team titles alongside Michael Nador.
The wrestling world quickly realized that Andre was a formidable foe and few could best him, so Andre learnt how to be the heel, making his opponent look good for a number of years. 

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. He was known by friends to be cheerful, warm-hearted, and was known by fans as "The Gentle Giant." 

The disease that granted him his immense size eventually began to take its toll on his body. By the late 1980s, André was in constant, near-crippling pain, and his heart struggled to pump blood throughout his massive body.
According to William Goldman, author of The Princess Bride and its respective screenplay, André was having such terrible back pain during the filming of the movie that in the first shooting of a scene where Robin Wright drops about one foot and is caught by André, he fell to one knee and almost dropped her.
In the A&E documentary, BiographyArnold Skaaland mentions how André wished he could see a Broadway play. Arnold offered to buy tickets, but André then passed up the opportunity, citing how he was too big for the seats and that people behind him would not be able to see. This was cited as a principal reason for why André frequented taverns more than anywhere else.

He has been unofficially crowned "The Greatest Drunk on Earth" for once consuming 119 12-ounce beers in 6 hours. In her autobiography, The Fabulous Moolah alleges that André drank 127 beers in a ReadingPennsylvania hotel bar and later passed out in the lobby. Because the staff could not move him, they had to leave him there until he regained consciousness.
After Wrestlemania, Andre retired from wrestling for good. 

His beloved father died in 1993 and Andre returned to Frances to be with his family and attend the funeral. During this visit Andre died in his sleep of heart failure on January 26th, he was 47. According to his wishes his remains were cremated and his ashes were scattered over his ranch in North Carolina.
Andre continues to have a loyal following of fans, for both his wrestling career and his much-loved character in The Princess Bride, Fezzik. RIP Andre!
"I only dog paddle."

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