A new documentary, Andre the Giant, will examine the life of the supersize wrestler. The film, set to air on HBO on April 10th, features interviews with Hulk Hogan, Jerry “The King” Lawler and actor Billy Crystal (whose movie My Giant was inspired by Andre), among others.
When the wrestler, who was born in France in 1946 with the name André René Roussimoff, faced off with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania III in 1987, he was reportedly carrying 520 pounds on his seven-foot-four-inch frame. In a preview from the HBO doc, Hogan says, “He was stronger than all of us. He was bigger than all of us. He kept everybody in line. He was the guy.” (Hogan defeated Andre the Giant at the match.)
Another commentator in voiceover describes him as “literally the biggest celebrity in the world,” with archival interview footage showing how much bigger his hand is than the interviewer’s and a clip of his entrance to a fight where he was billed as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”
But there was a darker side to the wrestler. As the doc hints, he had a problem with drinking and, as Crystal points out, he was aware of his fate. “The reality of who he was, was getting more intense on him,” the actor says. “He knew he wasn’t going to live long.” Roussimoff died on January 27th, 1993 of congestive heart failure.