This installment of All That is Man is quite different than the last. Bruce Lee was a tiny little man and Andre the Giant was, well, a giant. He stood an approximate 7 feet, 4 inches and weighed in around 520 pounds. Although not as quick as Bruce Lee, he was incredibly agile for a man his size, as you can see in some of his wrestling highlights. There are three reasons Andre is tops on the man food chain: his size, eating abilities, and drinking accomplishments.
Andre the Giant had acromegaly – a syndrome where the pituitary gland overproduces growth hormone. It provided him a natural and steady stream of hGH that would have made Barry Bonds jealous. Unfortunately, this led to many health issues and he spent most of his life in pain – knees, back, heart, and more. He chose not to undergo treatment (most likely because the damage had already been done?) and died at age 46.
Men eat a lot of food. They even have challenges to see who can eat the most food. It would have phenomenal to see Andre the Giant take part in an endurance food competition. There are numerous stories where he would go to a restaurant and order almost everything on the menu. Or he would go to one restaurant, eat a three course meal, then head straight to another restaurant, eat again, then head to another restaurant. I don’t think the standard 2000 calorie diet nutrition facts applied to him.
The number one legacy Andre the Giant has left on the internet is he drinking ability. Boy did he love to drink. (Although it is sad. He couldn’t fit in normal sized entertainment venues so he spent most of his nights on the road in bars. He was also in chronic pain most his life and used alcohol as a crutch.) There are stories of Andre finishing 119 beers in one sitting, or even more depending upon the source. How about finishing a case of wine on a long bus ride. Here is one story that sums it up:
French doctors who were to operate on Andre’s back devised a method for determining how much anesthesia to administer to someone based on the person’s tolerance for alcohol. They asked Andre what it took to get him drunk and he couldn’t answer. He told them it took two liters of vodka “just to make him feel warm inside.”
Along with all these feats, he also starred in the Princess Bride toward the tail end of his career. It is a terrific movie of which he was extremely proud. One other fun fact for you: Andre the Giant actually signed his checks “Andre the Giant” rather than his given name – that’s when you know a nickname has stuck!