André René Roussimoff (May 19, 1946 – January 27, 1993), better known as André the Giant, was a French professional wrestler and actor.Roussimoff stood around seven feet tall, which was a result of gigantism caused by excess growth hormone, and later resulted in acromegaly. It also led to him being called "The Eighth Wonder of the World". He found success as a fan favorite throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, appearing as an attraction for various professional wrestling promotions. During the 1980s wrestling boom, he was paired with the villainous manager Bobby Heenan and feuded with Hulk Hogan in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE). The two headlined WrestleMania III in 1987, and in 1988, he defeated Hogan to win the WWF World Heavyweight Championship, his sole world heavyweight championship, on the first episode of The Main Event. He also held the WWF Tag Team Championship before failing health forced him to retire in 1992.Outside of wrestling, he was best known for appearing as Fezzik the giant in The Princess Bride. After his death in 1993, he became the inaugural inductee into the newly created WWF Hall of Fame. He was later a charter member of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame; the latter describes him as being "one of the most recognizable figures in the world both as a professional wrestler and as a pop culture icon."
Roussimoff was mentioned in the 1974 Guinness Book of World Records as the highest-paid wrestler in history at that time. He had earned US$400,000 in one year during the early 1970s.Robin Christensen is Roussimoff's only child. Her mother Jean Christensen (who died in 2008) became acquainted with her father through the wrestling business around 1972 or 1973. Christensen had almost no connection with her father and saw him only five times in her life, despite occasional televised and printed news pieces criticizing his absentee fatherhood. While she gave some interviews about the subject in her childhood, Christensen is reportedly reluctant to discuss her father publicly today.Roussimoff has been unofficially crowned "the greatest drunk on Earth" for once consuming 119 12-US-fluid-ounce (350 mL) beers (in total, over 41 litres (72 imp pt)) in six hours. On an episode of WWE's Legends of Wrestling, Mike Graham said Roussimoff once drank 156 16-US-fluid-ounce (470 mL) beers (over 73 litres (128 imp pt)) in one sitting, which was confirmed by Dusty Rhodes. The Fabulous Moolah wrote in her autobiography that Roussimoff drank 127 beers in a Reading, Pennsylvania, hotel bar and later passed out in the lobby. The staff could not move him and had to leave him there until he awoke. In a shoot interview, Ken Patera recalled an occasion where Roussimoff was challenged by Dick Murdoch to a beer drinking contest. After nine or so hours, Roussimoff had drunk 116 beers. A tale recounted by Cary Elwes in his book about the making of The Princess Bride has Roussimoff falling on top of somebody while drunk, after which the NYPD sent an undercover officer to follow Roussimoff around whenever he went out drinking in their city to make sure he did not fall on anyone again. Another story also says prior to his famous WrestleMania III match, Roussimoff drank 14 bottles of wine.An urban legend exists surrounding Roussimoff's 1987 surgery in which his size made it impossible for the anesthesiologist to estimate a dosage via standard methods; consequently, his alcohol tolerance was used as a guideline instead.Roussimoff was arrested in 1989 by the sheriff of Linn County, Iowa; and charged with assault after he allegedly attacked a local television cameraman.William Goldman, the author of the novel and the screenplay of The Princess Bride, wrote in his nonfiction work Which Lie Did I Tell? that Roussimoff was one of the gentlest and most generous people he ever knew. Whenever Roussimoff ate with someone in a restaurant, he would pay, but he would also insist on paying when he was a guest. On one occasion, after Roussimoff attended a dinner with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Wilt Chamberlain, Schwarzenegger had quietly moved to the cashier to pay before Roussimoff could, but then found himself being physically lifted, carried from his table and deposited on top of his car by Roussimoff and Chamberlain.Roussimoff owned a ranch in Ellerbe, North Carolina, looked after by two of his close friends. When he was not on the road, he loved spending time at the ranch tending to his cattle, playing with his dogs and entertaining company. While there were custom-made chairs and a few other modifications in his home to account for his size, tales that everything in his home was custom-made for a large man are said to be exaggerated. Since Roussimoff could not easily go shopping due to his fame and size, he was known to spend hours watching QVC and made frequent purchases from the shopping channel. Roussimoff had a passion for card games, mainly cribbage.
André René Roussimoff (French: [ɑ̃dʁe ʁəne ʁusimɔf]) was born in Coulommiers of Slavic heritage, the third of five children, to Boris and Marianne Roussimoff Stoeff. His parents were immigrants to France; his father was Bulgarian and his mother was Polish. His nickname growing up was Dédé (, French: [dede]). At birth André weighed 13 pounds (6 kg) and as a child he displayed symptoms of gigantism very early, noted as being "a good head taller than other the kids" and with abnormally long hands. By the time he was age 12, André stood 191 cm (6 ft 3 in). Roussimoff was an average student, though good at mathematics, but after finishing school at 14, as he did not think higher education was necessary for a farm laborer, he instead joined the workforce (contrary to popular legend, André did not drop out, as compulsory education in France at the time ended at 14). He spent years working on his father's farm in Molien, where, according to his brother Jacques, he could perform the work of three men. He also completed an apprenticeship in woodworking, and next worked in a factory that manufactured engines for hay balers. None of these occupations, however, brought him any satisfaction.While Roussimoff was growing up in the 1950s, the Irish playwright and Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature Samuel Beckett was one of several adults who sometimes drove local children to school, including André and his siblings. The Irishman and Bulgarian-descended French boy had a surprising common ground, their love of cricket, with André recalling that the two rarely talked about anything else.
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