Andre the Giant may be the most famous wrestler of all time. Wherever you go, even if not where wrestling fans congregate, everybody will know about the legendary wrestling. Standing at over 7 feet tall and weight over 400 pounds, the Frenchman was a sight to behold and was akin to something out of mythology.
He was a larger-than-life character who bought smiles to everyone he met. Andre was known as being a very kind man, who would do anything for his friends and was incredibly generous. He took a while to let people into his inner circle, but once you were in then you were in for life. Travelling the world since a young took the toll on his giant body and he struggled to control the pain for the rest of his life, caused by his condition.
Some of the funniest and most entertaining stories in the 1970s and 1980s have featured the legendary Frenchman. He caused anarchy wherever he went due to his size, barely fitting in taxis across the world and scaring locals, thinking a mythical giant had come to eat them. He was so large that many people ran in terror from him, which upset the gentle giant.
However, his wrestling stardom did land him some roles in TV and film. His biggest role was in The Princess Bride, where he played the role of Fezzig. He also had an uncredited role in the Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie Conan the Destroyer, where he became good friends with the Hollywood megastar.
Andre the Giant and Arnold Schwarzenegger
After Andre’s death in 1993 from heart failure, Arnold spoke about a time he and his co-stars Andre the Giant and Wilt Chamberlin went out for dinner together, where Andre demanded to pay for everyone’s meal as he was known as an incredibly generous person.
However, Andre was angry that he wouldn’t let him pay so he and Wilt carried Arnold out of the restaurant and sat him on the roof of his car, making the action star look normal size in comparison to the two giants.
Arnold Schwarzenegger said about Andre the Giant;
“Andre the Giant – who was a very good friend of mine – and [Basketball legend] Wilt Chamberlin both went out for dinner several times in Mexico City when we did the second Conan movie down there.They were both always joking about who could pick me up [the easiest] and make me look like a little fly.
I was making good money – it was the first movie where I got a million dollars, so I felt like a big shot. I said, ‘I’m gonna take the boys out…’ Andre was the most generous. Wilt Chamberlin was cheap, right? He was always penny-pinching – but Andre always wanted to pay for the dinner.
So this one day, I said, ‘I’ll be right back…’ and I snuck out to give the waiter my credit card. I said, ‘Don’t let Andre or anyone pay – no matter how much he complains. I’M going to pay…’ So anyway, I came back to the table and sat down and in the end, the waiter came and gave me the bill to sign. All of a sudden, [Andre’s booming voice] ‘NOOO…YOU MAKE ME VERRY ANGRY ARNOLD…’
He picked me up – and then, of course, Wilt joined in, ‘Oh yeah, I wanted to pay…’, I said, ‘Oh, dat’s a good one…’ They both carry me out of the restaurant – people are freaking out – and they sat me on the roof of my car out front. It was a very funny scene.”
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.