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Former WWE Superstars remember Andre the Giant

Andre the Giant, the single greatest attraction sports-entertainment has ever known, died 20 years ago on Jan. 27, 1993, in a hotel room in Paris. He had traveled home to France to attend the funeral of his father when he passed away in his sleep from heart failure at age 46. It was a surprisingly young age for a man who seemed to be indestructible. The giant — as his name would suggest — lived a life large enough for 10 men. And the passion with which he ate, drank and enjoyed his fortune has become the stuff of urban legend. ( THE TRUTH BEHIND SIX ANDRE LEGENDS)

Andre may be gone, but his presence still looms large in the minds of the men who knew him, the Superstars who grew up admiring him and even in the WWE offices where a pair of the giant’s tattered boots — as big as phonebooks — are displayed prominently in a glass case on the second floor. In memory of Andre’s passing, WWE Classics spoke with WWE Hall of Famers “The Magnificent” Don Muraco, Sgt. Slaughter and others who shared locker rooms with him to hear the unbelievably true stories of sports-entertainment’s largest personality. ( NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN ANDRE PHOTOS | WATCH RARE MATCHES)

WWE Hall of Famer "The Magnificent" Don Muraco

“I will never forget this. Back in Florida in the early 1970s, I teamed with Andre to face Dusty Rhodes and Ole Anderson. This was the first time that Andre and I teamed together, so as much as you want things to go well, you’re still not so sure if they will. During the match, Andre was on the floor hammering away at Dusty, while Ole and I were battling inside the ring. Ole then took me and proceeded to throw me out of the ring. I flew over the top rope and was headed for an ugly landing. But right there was Andre. He actually caught me in mid-air, and once he did, he threw me right back over the top rope and into the ring. Talk about human turbulence! From there, I was able to take the measure of Ole and score the victory for our team. We were both young and inexperienced back then, but I knew full well that Andre was going to make an impact in this business, which of course he did.”

“The Duke of Dorchester" Pete Doherty

“Andre traveled with me on occasion when he based himself in Boston for a tour. One time I dropped him off at the old Hotel Madison and told him to be ready to go at noon the next day, as we had to travel to Burlington, VT Vt., for an event. Noon came, no Andre. Fifteen minutes later, nothing. I called his room, no answer. I was about ready to have a hotel person go up to see what was going on when here he came with the most sullen look on his face. I went with him to the front desk  to check out, and he said to the manager that when he went to his room he realized that he did not have his room key with him, and he did not want to go all the way back to the front desk to get another key. So he said that he literally knocked the door down to get in. Needless to say, the manager was not too pleased about that. But before it went any further, Andre told the manager to put the charges on his bill. Oh, by the way, we got to Burlington barely on time.”

WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter

“Pat Patterson, Rene Goulet and I were in an elevator at a hotel in Denver going down to the lobby. On our way down, the elevator made two stops. At the first stop, two elderly ladies get on, and we all exchanged pleasantries. At the second stop, which I recall was on the 17th floor, here came Andre into the elevator. And no sooner did the door close and we started to move when Andre unfortunately picked that moment on the elevator to pass some gas. Well you can imagine the reaction of the ladies as the elevator ride became a tad unpleasant, as there was something in the air. And once we reached the lobby, we were all impressed by the speed in which the ladies left the elevator. Andre looked at Pat, Rene and myself and said, “I think they discovered the fountain of youth on the ride.”

"Dangerous" Danny Davis

“We had an off day in Montreal, and Andre wanted me to go to see an afternoon performance of a play at a theater in town. A play really wasn’t my cup of tea, but when Andre asked, you did it. And to top things off, the play was in French. I did not speak the language, so I didn’t understand a word of it. But what I did understand was what happened after the play ended. Andre saw the manager of the theater, spoke to him in French, then gave him his credit card. I asked Andre what was that all about, and he said that he really enjoyed the play so much that he ordered a bottle of champagne for every member of the cast to be delivered before the evening performance. That was Andre. When he was entertained like that, he showed his appreciation in kind.”

WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy Hart

“There was a time when I wanted to get something to eat from the hotel restaurant after an event in St. Louis, and take it up to my room. To get to the restaurant you had to go through the hotel bar. So I walked through and all of a sudden I heard Andre’s voice say, ‘Jimmy.’ He was sitting at a table by himself, so I went over to see what he wanted. He said, ‘Sit down.’ You do not say no to Andre. He said, ‘You want a glass of wine?’ I said, ‘I don’t drink.’ ‘Beer?’ ‘No sir.’ ‘What then?’ ‘Um, iced tea?’ So he ordered two big pitchers of it for me. And for the next two hours, I sat there with him, and there were few words exchanged between us. He just loved the company. Other members of the fraternity would walk by us, and I would try to get then to come over to sit with us, but it never happened. All I wanted was a sandwich, and I wound up having iced tea with Andre.  Go figure!”

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