Shrek – the ogre – was based on an actual person

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Movie synopsis

Disney’s 2001 movie, Shrek, tells the story of an ogre named Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers), who sees his prized solitude shattered by a large group of irritating fairy tale characters. They were all banished from their kingdom by the evil Lord Farquaad (voiced by John Lithgow).

In order to save the fairy tale characters’ homes – not to mention his own – Shrek cuts a deal with Farquaad and sets out to rescue Princess Fiona (voiced by Cameron Diaz) and make her Farquaad’s bride. Shrek soon learns that saving the Princess is nothing compared to her deep, dark secret.

Here is something you probably didn’t know – Shrek is based on a real person!

The French wrestler Maurice Tillet was born in 1903 and was nicknamed “The Angel” because of his angelic appearance. He was highly intelligent, spoke 14 languages, and possessed a great sense of narration, along with great prowess in Chess. Although he ended up finishing law school, his dream was to be an actor.

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Maurice developed Acromegaly in his twenties, a condition that caused his bones to grow uncontrollably large (the same condition that Andre the Giant suffered from). As a result, he dropped out of law school because people would not accept his appearance in the courtroom.

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After switching to pro wrestling, he took the name “French Angel” and became extremely popular, becoming unstoppable, going undefeated for a span of 19 months.

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When he came into a city for wrestling matches, he was always on the front page of the paper, and he was considered the biggest wrestler of the early 1940s. He was also a famous figure among the general public during his time.

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It was heart disease, not Acromegaly, that caused Mauric Tillet’s death in 1953. During Maurice Tillet’s lifetime, Chicago sculptor Louis Linck befriended him and created a series of plaster busts commemorating his life and career as a wrestler. One of the busts can be found at the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago.

Fun fact: There is a Broadway musical based on the popular movie – a definite need to watch if you’re a Shrek fan!

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