Published on May 17th, 2015 | by Pro Wrestling Stories0
“The Eighth Wonder of the World”
ANDRE THE GIANT
It’s hard to imagine a wrestler more memorable or larger than life than Andre the Giant. From stories of brute strength to drinking prowess, ‘The Eighth Wonder of the World’ captivated people wherever he went. Here are his very best stories, from the people who knew him best.
‘MEAN’ GENE OKERLUND tells an ANDRE THE GIANT story
“Andre was a delight. Great memories. I got to know him well.
We had a couple of things in common…we liked good food, we liked good wine; we liked to play cribbage and we like to play Gin Rummy. When you’re spending a week or ten days at a crack on the road with these guys, in your off-time, what are you doing? You’re drinking, you’re eating, you’re playing Gin Rummy…
I was sitting on a plane coming from Denver going to Minneapolis. He sat up in First Class, I sat in the back of the plane. He said, ‘Boss, you’re sitting up here with me.’
We sat down, he ordered himself a Bloody Mary – it was an 8am flight by the way…he had to have the ‘eye-opener’ – and he said, ‘You know, people think that I have a great life…that I can travel all over and everything…but I see them when they point at me…little kids laugh and say, what kind of a man is he?’
I saw him cry.
He was a very sensitive man. Nobody realizes this…”
BRUNO SAMMARTINO on Andre The Giant
“I met Andre the first time when he was maybe 19, 20. I was touring Australia and from Australia, I went to New Zealand for a couple of matches, and he was there.
You want to hear something funny? You know how tall he was – we actually weighed the same. This was in the 60s. I was 270. Andre was only about 270-275. He looked like a basketball player, he was so tall.
I didn’t see him for years. I was in Montreal, Canada maybe four years later, five years later, something like that, and when I saw him, I didn’t know it was the same guy because by this time, he weighed well over 400 pounds.
Then when he started coming around the Northeast there, in Baltimore, for example, we used to go to Little Italy. We used to go out to dinner. Andre liked to hang around the bar. He was one guy you didn’t try to keep up with! (laughs)
I can honestly say I was never a drinker. I could have a couple of beers or, being Italian, with dinner, I could go for a glass or two of wine. But that was about it. With Andre, he could hold a lot more.
He didn’t like to be alone, so I used to keep him company a lot. To be honest, I liked him a lot, but I felt bad for him at the same time. At times, he struck me to be a lonely man who needed company…”