Andre Rene Rousimoff was born on May 19, 1946, in Grenoble, France. He was born with a condition called acromegaly which caused his large size. He started his career in the '60s. In 1972, he was signed by Vince McMahon Sr. and had his name changed to Andre the Giant. Andre wrestled in the territory system for the next decade and would sell out everywhere he went.
During this time, Andre was used as a special attraction. He never needed a belt to boost the attendance of a show he was at. He started getting acting roles on shows like The Six Million Dollar Man. The December 21, 1981, issue of Sports Illustrated featured a story about him that is one of the longest stories in the history of the magazine.
The Heenan Family:
In the mid-'80s Andre feuded with Heenan family members Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy, and Ken Patera. On one occasion, they cut his hair and another time broke his ribs. During this feud, Andre missed a TV match and was suspended. In reality, he was filming The Princess Bride and resting his body.
The Machines and a New Manager:
When Andre was suspended, a new masked tag team from Japan called the Machines made their debut. It was obvious Andre was one of them. They feuded with the Heenan family. In early 1987, Andre's suspension was lifted. After 2 strange appearances on Piper's Pit, he came out 2 weeks later with Bobby Heenan as his new manager and challenged Hulk Hogan to a match.
North American Indoor Attendance Record and Return to Network Primetime TV:
Hulk and Andre fought at WrestleMania III in front of over 90,000 fans. Hulk won the match but Andre would get his revenge a year later. On a primetime NBC special, Andre became the WWE World Champion. He quickly surrendered the belt to "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase.
A Few Feuds:
By this point, it was obvious that Andre's health was starting to deteriorate. He had a few feuds with Jim Duggan, Jake Roberts, and the Ultimate Warrior. Many of the matches against the Warrior consisted of him being pinned in less than a minute. At WrestleMania VI, he lost the tag team belts in a match he was barely in, but at the end he beat up Bobby Heenan to become a face again.
The Giant Remembered:
Andre died on January 27, 1993, while in France. He was in town for his father's funeral which took place less than a week earlier. Shortly after his death, the WWE created The Hall of Fame and Andre was the only person inducted in the inaugural class.
6/25/76 Shea Stadium - beat boxer Chuck Wepner by count out
8/9/80 Shea Stadium - pinned Hulk Hogan
3/31/85 WrestleMania - beat Big John Studd in a body slam challenge
10/5/85 SNME - with Tony Atlas beat Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy via DQ
11/2/85 SNME - with Hogan beat Studd & Bundy via DQ
4/7/86 WrestleMania 2 - won battle royal featuring NFL players
3/29/87 WrestleMania 3 - lost to Hulk Hogan
11/26/87 Survivor Series - sole survivor in his match against Hulk's team
2/5/88 Main Event - Beat Hulk Hogan to become World Champion
3/27/88 WrestleMania 4 - fought Hulk Hogan to a double DQ
8/29/88 SummerSlam - with Ted Dibiase lost to Hogan & Randy Savage
11/26/88 SNME - lost to Savage via DQ
4/28/89 WrestleMania 5 - lost to Jake Roberts by DQ
8/28/89 SummerSlam - with Big Bossman & Akeem lost to Demolition & Jim Duggan
11/25/89 SNME - lost to Ultimate Warrior by DQ
12/13/89 - with Haku won the tag team tiles from Demolition
4/1/90 WrestleMania 6 - lost tag team titles to Demolition
(Sources: PWI Almanac & Andre the Giant.com)