Today would’ve marked Andre the Giant’s 71st birthday. We take a look at some giant habits and events that made the 7-foot-4-inch professional wrestler and actor ginormously beloved.
Giant: Beer Drinking
For Andre one gulp usually was equal to one can of beer. Although he guzzled an average of 100 beers in a night, his unofficial record was 156 cans. That’s almost 15 gallons of beer. “There are a lot of crazy stories about Andre that sound fake but most are true, especially his drinking,” said fellow wrestler Gerald Brisco. “Andre used to ask me to get him six bottles of Mateus wine and ice them down. He would drink those before we went to the ring and no one could tell.”
Andre’s appetite was certified monumental, and his buddy Tim White could attest. It’s not that Andre always went nuts at the dinner table, but when he was having fun, he could really put on a show. (Food Networks’ Ginormous Food had nothing on this guy.) Once Andre was noted to have inhaled 16 steaks and a dozen lobsters, along with 10 bottles of wine, a case of beer and some Jack Daniels.
Giant: Back Surgery
Because Andre suffered from gigantism, he basically never stopped growing. By the time he reached his late 30s he was experiencing so much back pain, he had no choice but to get surgery. With his operation scheduled in England, his doctors had huge challenges ahead. Not only did they have to put together a large enough operating table for him to lay on, but his anesthesiologist also had to figure out the right dosage to sedate him — one that wasn’t too small that would allow him to wake up in the middle of his surgery and one not too large that it would accidentally kill him. In the end, Andre was in good hands and received the right amount.
By 1987 Andre’s wrestling career was at its end. He and adversary Hulk Hogan had had their fair share of fighting in the ring (with Andre usually beating the daylights out of the The Hulkster), but during Wrestlemania III, the powers-that-be decided this time, Andre would have to let Mr. America reign supreme. Andre did as he was told: in front of a crowd of over 90,000 screaming fans, Hulk had his shining moment — famous leg drop and all — as he pinned The Giant down (despite tearing a muscle in the process).
While everyone has a nice fart story to share in their lives, fellow wrestler Ted DiBiase’s recollection of Andre’s expansive flatulence probably takes the cake. According to DiBiase, he and Andre were once riding an elevator in Japan. The elevator got very crowded and whether it was an act of defiance or a cry for help, Andre let one rip. “The giant cuts the loudest, longest fart,” DiBiase remembered. “It just kept going. The poor guy who is standing directly behind him…he is getting it full force. When the elevator stopped those people couldn’t get off the elevator fast enough, it was like the exodus.”
On the set of Princess Bride, actor Cary Elwes also had vivid memories of Andre’s public atomic bombs. “There emitted from Andre the most monumental fart,” Elwes said in a subsequent interview. “Fifteen seconds, the sonic resonance, I can’t overestimate the sonic resonance of this thing. And we all thought it was an earthquake, cause everyone grabbed this plastic set that was shaking and I looked over at Andre and he had like this beautiful, he always had this smile on his face, but he had this look of bliss.”