Andre the Giant’s wrestling career lasted almost 20 years. He earned the nickname The 8th Wonder of the World and was one of the most memorable wrestlers in the WWE, due in large part to his massive size.
Andre was well-liked by almost everyone he came into contact with, despite having the occasional feud with his fellow superstars. He drank heavily but never became belligerent. Earning a part in the hit film The Princess Bride helped spread his popularity beyond the world of wrestling.
Despite the fame, there were plenty of details that the public didn’t know about him. Only his closest friends and colleagues got to see how gentle and sensitive he could be or the struggles that his size caused him.
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Getting from place to place was almost impossible for a 7’2, 450lb Giant. Fellow wrestler Bill Eadie told of how he’d have to hail a cab for Andre every time they were done drinking. He’d bend down and pretend to tie his shoelace, giving the Giant time to sneak in with his body sticking out of both ends and Bill cramped in the front.
Andre also had a unique connection to famous playwright Samuel Beckett. He drove him to school in his van because he couldn’t fit on any school bus.
Bill Eadie said that Andre would drink 5-6 bottles of Cognac before and during each match but that it wouldn’t affect him.
Bobby Heenan remembers a humorous mixup on a plane. He was flying with Andre from Chicago to Omaha. The stewardess asked if they want anything to drink, and the Giant responded with a single word; screwdriver. 10 minutes later, the stewardess returned with a Black and Decker screwdriver, and he asked, “what would you have brought me if I’d have said a Bloody Mary?”
Andre’s Secret Weapon
Ted DiBiase was there for one of the most famous Andre the Giant stories. They had just landed after a 14-hour flight to Japan. He checked into the hotel, dropped off his bags, and pressed the button for the elevator. Andre was there and said, “Hey boss, let’s eat.”
They were both crammed into the elevator as more and more passengers entered. Andre tapped Ted on the shoulder and warned him that something was going to happen. Suddenly, the Giant released a loud, long fart and gave a booming laugh.
Cary Elwes also experienced the force of Andre’s flatulence the first day he worked with him on The Princess Bride. They were filming a scene where they were about to storm the castle. Andre finished a line and released a 15-second fart with a smile on his face. Cary swears that it shook the entire set and that the Giant also had steam emitting from his head.
The other actors were silent for a while until Rob Reiner said “Hey, Andre…are you okay?” The Giant replied, “I am now, boss,” and the cast erupted with laughter.
Like and subscribe for more lesser-known details about your favorite members of the WWE. Keep watching to hear more stories that reveal Andre the Giant’s true feelings about his life, including his time on The Princess Bride, how he felt about his size and fellow wrestlers, and more.
Princess Bride Stories
Cary Ewles, who played Westley in The Princess Bride, has plenty of stories about working with Andre the Giant.
In an interview on The Kevin Pollak Chat Show Podcast, he said that he took the breath out of any room he entered. He noticed how he had to bend down to come through doors and his hand would engulf everyone else’s. He also called Andre a gentle giant who would give you the shirt off his back even though it would be large enough for 5 people.
Cary also remembers celebrating the premiere of The Princess Bride with Andre. They got into a modified truck and went bar hopping. They started in a famous New York bar. The bartender greeted Andre who asked for “the usual.” He filled a pitcher with a mixture of almost every type of liquor in the bar, including whiskey, vodka, gin, and brandy.
Andre took a drink of the mixture and offered it to Cary. He thought it tasted like airplane fuel and began coughing it out, which the Giant thought was funny.
Cary paced himself for the rest of the night, sipping a few beers here and there while Andre continued to down huge pitchers. As they went from bar to bar, he noticed a man who showed up at each of them. By the time they reached the fourth bar, he felt the need to say something.
Andre explained that he once fell on a patron after leaving a bar in New York and the NYPD hired an undercover cop to follow him when he went drinking. He took it well and would even reward him for his work by buying himm a drink.
Andre’s lifelong struggles with traveling continued on the set of The Princess Bride. The crew wondered how they’d get him from place to place, but then he told them he used an ATV to travel at home.
They found him a red 3-wheeled vehicle, and he loved it. Andre would drive it around everywhere and ask Cary if he wanted to try it, which he did on the 4th day of filming.
The Sensitive Giant
Mean Gene Okerlund remembers a tender moment he shared with Andre.He was in the back of a plane from Denver to Minneapolis, and the Giant invited him up to First Class.
Andre ordered himself a Bloody Mary and then opened up. He began crying and admitted that everyone thought he had a perfect life but dealing with constant pointing and laughing from others made it difficult.
Bruno Sammartino says that they used to drink together when they were in the same area for matches, and he could tell he was a lonely man who needed company.
Wrestlers He Loved and Hated
Andre the Giant was a gentle soul known for adressing everyone as “boss.” He’s remembered fondly by almost every actor, wrestler, or event coordinator he worked with.
Rocky Johnson was the grandfather of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Dwayne said that Rocky and Andre were friends outside of the ring and can tell stories and show photographs to prove it. He even credits Andre with opening the door for his acting career because he was one of the first wrestlers to appear in a major Hollywood movie.
Andre was also close with Vince McMahon. Their relationship had a few rough patches but remained strong. Vince abandoned his tough-guy persona and allowed himself to cry when contributing to Jason Hehir’s documentary about Andre’s life.
The Giant also loved Vince’s daughter Stephanie. One of the most famous stories about him is that she could fit in the palm of his hand when she met him for the first time at 3 years old.
He was also friends with Ted Debiase, the Million Dollar Man. They formed the famous tag team The Mega Bucks and were involved in a storyline where he tried to sell the WWF World Heavyweight Championship to his friend.
Despite his easygoing nature, there were a few people that bothered Andre. He loved playing cards backstage with Lanny Savage but had a major feud with his brother, “Macho Man” Randy Savage. He wore too much baby oil, a pet peeve of the Giant. Andre’s daughter Robin also said he did something that her father had absolutely no tolerance for; using steroids.
Another one of Andre’s most well-known feuds was with The Ultimate Warrior. He had a major ego, and their matches in the ring became heated. Andre felt that the Warrior was stiffing or hitting him unnecessarily hard during tours.
WWE wrestler The Big Show explained a few of their matches in the 2018 documentary on Andre’s life. In the first one, he tied himself to the ropes and lifted his fist. The Warrior ran into it and was nearly knocked unconscious. The next night, Andre knocked the Warrior out in the middle of the ring then left the match, losing by count-out. During the final night, the Warrior came rushing at the Giant. He got tied up in the ropes and told Bobby Heenan, “he’s learning.”
Andre had a feud with Big John Studd, who he felt was attempting to take his place as the giant wrestler in the WWE.
He didn’t like the Fabulous Freebirds formed by Michael PS Hayes, Terry Gordy, and Buddy Roberts. They were one of the first wrestling trios but engaged in plenty of antics outside of the ring. Andre was pleased to let them know they were fired when they showed up a day late to a show because they were too drunk.
One of the most complicated relationships he had with another wrestler was the one he developed with Hulk Hogan.
They had a rivalry in the early years of their careers. The animosity formed the main story of the WrestleMania III main event and led to a match with a still iconic body slam.
In the later years, they made up and became friends backstage. Hulk even said in a WrestleMania Rewind that Andre was a bigger star than he was and paved the way for other WWE megastars. Today, he also acknowledges that Andre was a gentle giant.
Arnold Schwarzenegger remembers working with Andre on Conan the Barbarian. He wanted to treat everyone to dinner, so he gave the waiter his credit card and told him not to let anyone else pay. When he returned to the table and Andre saw the bill, he told him he’d made him very angry. Wilt Chamberlin and the Giant picked Arnold up and set him on the roof of his car.
Harley Race remembers being the first one to body slam Andre the Giant. He also claims to have done it better than Hulk Hogan; he got him fully over his head and did it all in one motion, keeping himself from getting hurt.
Roddy Piper had over 200 matches with the Giant. He took him under his wing, and Roddy says he’s never met a finer human being.
Brett Hart survived an insane car trip with Andre. He was in the passenger seat of the car that picked up the Giant at a hotel. They were in a rush, and his brother went up to 100 mph through city traffic.
They were up on 2 wheels by the time they reached the airport, and everyone was screaming.. They screeched to a stop at the terminal where a Mountie met them with a gun. Brett came up with a story that let them get through, but Andre never forgave them for the traumatic experience.
Cary Elwes remembers one day when Andre was having terrible back pain but was advised by his doctor to relax with a few drinks until he could have an operation. After enjoying some liqueur, he passed out in the Dorchester hotel. The staff called engineering and security, but no one could move his massive frame. They even held a meeting about what to do and decided to put a velvet rope around him so no one would disturb him. He woke up the next morning and left on a bus.
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