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this day in history 1946

Birth of Andre the Giant

Big Daddy Today marks the birth of a wrestling great and a cultural icon. AndrĂ© RenĂ© Roussimoff, better known as Andre the Giant, was born in Grenoble France in 1946 and for anyone wondering how he got his name, by the time he was 12, he was already 6 foot 3 and 240 lbs (he later grew to 7 foot 4 and 540 lbs). In fact, he was so immense that the school bus couldn’t accommodate him, so a neighbour drove him in his truck. Bizarrely the neighbour was nobel prize winning playwright Samuel Beckett, who chatted to the young Andre about cricket.

Andre soon made a splash in the wrestling world, starting in France then moving to Japan, Canada and finally reaching the giddy heights of the WWF, where his feuds with Hulk Hogan and various Wrestlemania appearances cemented his legendary status. He also established an acting career, most famously as Fezzik in The Princess Bride. Artist Shepard Fairey immortalised him with his ‘Andre the Giant Has a Posse’ artwork and he was the first inductee into the WWF Hall of Fame. Pretty fly for a big guy.

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