When it comes to men that were larger the life, is there anyone that fits the saying more than Andre the Giant? At 7 feet tall and nearly 500 pounds, it was clear that no matter where he went, all eyes were going to be on the Giant.
Andre made the most of his size, having a successful career not only in the wrestling ring, but also making some fantastic acting appearances and inspired countless individuals with his larger than life personality.
For all of the accomplishments that Andre achieved in life, there may be none that is more fun than his outstanding tolerance for alcohol. Shockingly, being the size that he was also enabled him to drink more than perhaps anyone in history. And if you don’t believe me, make it to the end of this list and then try and convince me that he is well deserving of a spot as one of the all-time greatest drinkers.
Doctors told Andre at a young age that he would not make it past the age of 40, so should it really come as a shock that he did everything he could to live life to the fullest?
Even if you have never watched Andre in the wrestling ring, you owe it to the sport that you love to take some time out of your day to learn more about one of its pioneers.
Here are only 15 of the amazing things that you may not have known about Andre.
15. Andre Had To Poop In Interesting Places
When you are the size of Andre, everyday life may cause some serious problems. This can be even worse when you are travelling to Japan, where the typical person is smaller than average, and thus has smaller than average accommodations. In Hulk Hogan’s autobiography, he discusses how Andre would sometimes have to poop in a bathtub, because he literally could not fit into the washrooms. Hogan recalls a specific time where Andre beckoned him to come to his room where “he had taken the morning newspaper and spread it all over his bed. And since he could’t fit on the toilet in that place, and his ass was too big to hang over the tub, he just took a huge dumb on the bed. It looked like a three-foot pile of horse manure.”
Thanks for that imagery, Hulk!
14. What Happened When He Passed Out In A Lobby
What are you going to do if you come across a 500 pound man, passed out in your hotel lobby? That was the question that staff had to answer after Andre got intoxicated to the point of passing out cold in the lobby of a hotel. Despite a few attempts from staff, they quickly found that it was going to be impossible to move him, and that there was also nothing they could do to wake him.
For the safety of everyone involved, staff eventually “decided to place a small velvet rope barrier around André, who was by now snoring loudly enough to shake the lobby walls.”
13. He Could Drink A LOT In One Sitting
Yes, Andre was one hell of a wrestler, but as you are going to quickly learn through this list, he was also one accomplished drinker. Using his size to his advantage, Andre slammed back an amazing 119 beers over the course of six hours. This averages out to a beer every 3 minutes, God help the person who is trying to keep up with the Giant! While there are many occasions of Andre slamming back copious amounts of alcohol and not being stunned by it, you need to hope that after 119 beers even the Giant was a little wobbly. There are even some people out there that claim that he has drank up to an astonishing 156 in one night. As is the case with most legends, we’ll probably never know for sure, but there’s no doubting his drinking ability.
12. His Bar Tab At The Hyatt
If Andre was smart, he would have worked his food and bar tab into his contract for The Princess Bride. It was reported that by the time the film wrapped up, Andre’s tab was roughly $40,000. There is no doubt that Andre is a delight in the film. Not to mention it ends up being one of the best films of all time (okay, slight exaggeration, but still). I just can’t imagine how someone could amass that kind of bar tab and not just permanently be drunk after filming…though with Andre’s capabilities, I wouldn’t be surprised if he barely had a buzz! After all, just imagine how much those 100+ beers would have cost him?
11. He Threw Chuck Wepner Out Of The Ring
Andre the Giant is an incredibly formidable man, and when he was offered a boxing match (of sorts) in 1976, he accepted. Andre went up against Chuck Wepner. Wepner, to his credit, was 6’5″ and an accomplished boxer who was no stranger to the ring. A fun fact to point out is that while Wepner used boxing gloves, Andre used his bare hands. It was a close match at least until Andre headbutted Chuck, and then literally threw him out of the ring.
10. Vince McMahon Convinced Him To Do WrestleMania 3
One of the most iconic wrestling moments of all time was when Hulk Hogan picked up Andre and slammed him to the mat at WrestleMania 3. While a great moment, you may be interested to know that when Vince first went to Andre with the idea, Andre said that his back was far too sore to wrestle. Vince had to agree to pay for surgery, and allowed Andre to rehab at the McMahon house. Andre’s size did not come without some significant health problems, and it should sadly not be surprising to learn that he was battling back issues towards the later parts of his life.
9. How They Determined How Much Anesthesia To Give Him
If you’re going to try and knock out a giant, how on earth are you going to figure out how much anesthesia to use? After all, it’s not like you can just have Hulk Hogan come in and lay the smack down! Yet when Andre was in need of a back surgery, doctors relied on Andre’s alcohol tolerance levels to help them use an appropriate amount of anesthesia. Andre reported that “it usually takes two litres of vodka just to make me feel warm inside.” No wonder he’s considered one of the most legendary drinkers of all time!
8. Andre Inspired A Movie
Andre The Giant was a delight in The Princess Bride, and while he does not have a ton of acting to his credit (though he does have some!), one thing he did do, is inspire a movie. Billy Crystal stated that after meeting Andre the Giant while filming TPB that it inspired him to make the film My Giant. The film stars “Billy Crystal [who] plays a Hollywood agent who stumbles upon Max, a giant living in Romania, and tries to get him into the movies.” It was an awful film. It only brought in $8 million at the box office (on a $20 million budget) and was widely considered a poor film by critics and fans.
7. The Circumstances Surrounding His Death
Andre passed away on January 27th, 1993 while in a Paris hotel room. Andre died in his sleep, allegedly suffering from congestive heart failure. To make the story all the sadder, Andre was in Paris because he was attending his Father’s funeral. I don’t know if it would be possible to find a casket big enough for Andre, so you may be relieved to know that they cremated his body! Despite y’know, cremation being a pretty extensive process, his cremated remains still weighed close to 17 pounds!
6. His Life At Age 12
It was clear from a very early age that Andre was going to be something unique. By the age of 12, Andre was already 6’3″ and weighed over 240 pounds. Despite his sheer size, Andre was also quite fast for his age and excelled at sports. Despite wrestling being his eventual calling, Andre’s first passion was soccer; perhaps because as a goalie, it was almost impossible to get anything physically past him. Feeling like he was never going to do anything but manual labor, he ended up dropping out of school at the age of 12 to work on a farm. Another fun fact about this part of his life is that he was driven to school by Samuel Beckett. Beckett was a Nobel Prize Winner, and an outstanding playwright.
5. How He Got His Start
When you are the size of Andre, no matter how hard you try, you are always going to be looked at as a spectacle. Nobody could possibly consider someone would be a credible threat for the giant, so the start of Andre’s career had him wrestling in Europe, Japan and Canada while he tried to find a home.
Eventually Vince McMahon Sr. noticed Andre and had an idea to tour him all over the world. In doing this he would make Andre always seem like something fresh and new for the audience. Once wrestling made its way to television, Andre’s popularity increased dramatically.
4. What Happened When He Was Pissed Off In A Bar
Now, before you start to think he’s a bad driver, I’ll explain that he flipped a car…with his hands. There is a story that when Andre was at a bar, there were 4 other patrons that were being incredibly annoying and decided to try and tease Andre. This obviously didn’t go well, and when they ran from the bar, they thought locking themselves in their car was a good idea. At least until Andre then literally picked up the car and flipped it over. Good luck explaining to a police officer or tow truck company, that an angry, slightly drunk giant just came and turned your car over while you were all sitting in it.
3. He Made Sure He Paid The Bill
As wonderful of a wrestler, and as impressive of a drinker as Andre was, he was an even better person. Reports from friends and fellow coworkers speak to the generosity of Andre, who would often make sure that he was the one paying for the bill. When Andre was out for dinner with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Arnold tried to insist that he was going to pick up the bill. At least until Andre literally picked Arnold up off the ground and repeated to Arnold “I pay.” When you are told something by Andre, it is probably wise to listen, even if you are the Terminator!
2. His Struggles With His Size
For all of the advantages that came with his size, Andre often wished that he would have instead been born normal. His body started to break down, and he was told from an early age that he realistically would not live past the age of 40. One of the Andre’s struggles came from an inability to enjoy activities that people may take for granted, such as seeing a Broadway play. Andre stated that he always wished he could have attended one, but wouldn’t because he didn’t want to block anyone’s view. His size also made him constantly feel like he was being stared at. When asked what he enjoyed doing, he stated that he loved going to his ranch because at least the animals never stared at him.
1. What “The American Pitcher” Was
You can only imagine that if Andre the Giant could eat like nobody’s business, he was also able to drink with the best of them. Cary Elwes, who worked with Andre on the set of The Princess Bride recalled how at dinner, Andre would drink out of a beer pitcher instead of a regular glass. The cup was allegedly nicknamed “The American” and was “usually some combination of hard and soft liquor and whatever else he felt like mixing in that day,” and while that sounds repulsive, Elwes stated that he never saw any indication of Andre being impacted by the alcohol.