Chances are, if you ever came across André René Roussimoff, otherwise known as Andre the Giant, you probably remembered him. “Everyone who ever crossed paths with him has an Andre story — and usually four or five,” says Ringer founder and Emmy-award winning producer Bill Simmons. The sports columnist’s production company Ringer Films recently collaborated with HBO Sports, WWE, and JMH Films to tell the full story of the wrestler in a new documentary Andre the Giant.
Roussimoff was born in 1946 in Molien, France to Slavic parents. By the age of 12, Roussimoff’s parents began to notice his gargantuan size – an affectation of gigantism which was later diagnosed as acromegaly (a disorder in adults in which the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone resulting in enlarged hands, feet, and bones). Dissatisfied with life as a farm worker, Roussimoff moved to Paris at age 17 to learn the art of professional wrestling from a local promoter. Before long, Roussimoff became known in wrestling circuits around the world and in 1973, he joined the organization now known as World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly the World Wrestling Federation) to compete on a global stage.
Known for his feuds with WWE legend Hulk Hogan, his status as “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” and even his softer role as Fezzik in the cult classic film The Princess Bride, Roussimoff’s life was anything but ordinary and his story comes to life for the first time in Andre the Giant. Replete with interviews with Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Billy Crystal, Rob Reiner, and more, Andre the Giant tells the story of a man so entrenched in myth as to truly be a legend.
Tune in to Andre the Giant, tonight at 10PM on HBO.