‘The Princess Bride’ Celebrates 25th Anniversary — Here Are 11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Andre the Giant
It seems like only yesterday, we were running around telling anyone who'd listen that “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Actually, we did say that just yesterday, as the famous line from the movie 'The Princess Bride' has been stuck in our minds for over 25 years.
In honor of the classic flick, we took a look at one of its biggest stars (literally and figuratively) André Roussimoff — known to the world as André the Giant. The legend himself has been gone for almost twenty years but his name and image are still a major part of pop culture.
Here are 11 things you probably didn't know about “The Eighth Wonder of the World”
André suffered from acromegaly, or “giantism,” a “endocrinological disorder that causes the body to secrete excessive amounts of growth hormones and produces continual growth, especially in the head, hands, and feet.” He inherited the disease from his grandfather. André left his family's small farm at age fourteen and was one of five siblings — obviously he was the largest of the brood. At his largest, Roussimoff was probably six feet eleven inches tall, though he was billed as 7' 4″ tall when he wrestled.
Wrestling With His Size
After training with French wrestling champion Frank Valois, Andre wrestled in Canada under the name Jean Ferre. From there, he moved on to Japan and was billed as Monster Roussimoff. Andre made his WWF debut in 1973 at Madison Square Garden. He was announced for the first time as André “the Giant.”
André the ‘Road Warrior’
During the height of his popularity in the 1970s, André wrestled more than 300 days a year. He was arguably one of the world's most famous professional athletes.
André was famous for his ability to ingest large amounts booze and food. It was once estimated that he consumed over 7,000 calories a day JUST IN ALCOHOL.
‘Giant’ Back Problems
Despite Andre's character Fezzik's almost-superhuman strength, back problems prevented him from actually lifting anything on the set of 'The Princess Bride.' In the scene where Buttercup jumps from the castle window into Fezzik's arms, Robin Wright was attached to wires so that Andre didn't have to actually catch or hold her.
Mandy Patinkin = Badass?
While rehearsing for the film, Andre's thick French accent made many of his lines hard to understand. It's reported that Mandy Patinkin often slapped André in the face to get him to concentrate harder on pronouncing his words.
André Breaks Bones
André couldn't walk up many of the hills on set, so he drove a rented four-wheeler to get around. He gave Cary Elwes the keys to try it out. Elwes went over a rock, which somehow got caught between his toes and the pedal, and it crushed his toe. He spent the rest of the shoot walking around in a protective shoe.
According to the author of 'The Princess Bride', when he was first trying to get the movie made in the 1970s, an unknown named Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to play Fezzik. By the time the movie was made over a decade later, Arnold was such a big star they could not afford him.
André allegedly carried a videotape of 'The Princess Bride' with him when he traveled and would hold frequent screenings.
André the Loner
André never married and lived most of the year on a 200-acre ranch in North Carolina.
The Legend Leaves Us
André died of an apparent heart attack in his hotel room in Paris. Sadly, he was staying after the burial of his father who passed away less than two weeks prior.