As some might know- a lot of Cartoon characters are based on real-life people. However when such a bizarre character as Shrek is actually based on a real person- then we can not let that pass without writing about it!
Maurice Tillet was a French pro wrestler born in 1903. As a child he had a completely normal appearance and Tillet was nicknamed ”The Angel” due to his angelic face. He was highly intelligent, allegedly speaking 14 languages and being quite gifted in prose and Chess. He finished law school but always aspired to be an actor. However, in his twenties Maurice developed acromegaly, a condition that made his bones grow uncontrollably large (the same disease that Andre the Giant suffered). It caused him to quit his career as a lawyer as he felt people would not accept his appearance in the courtroom.
Now you must think- that must have put him down? Think again! He actually headed the exact opposite of down, by going to the United States and taking advantage of his condition. He transformed himself into a pro wrestler called the “French Angel”. He soon became so popular that he was booked unstoppable, going undefeated for a span of 19 months. Tillet was arguably the biggest wrestling star during the early 1940′s. He was very famous in his time and not just among wrestling fans. He was the subject of numerous magazine features, and he always made the newspapers, often the front page, when he came into a town for a match. Due to this bizarre occurence of events he was also allowed to fulfill his biggest wish… to become a famous actor and starring in a number of succesful movies.
In 1953 Mauric Tillet died, not from Acromegaly but from a heart disease. Just shortly before Maurice Tillet passed away Chicago sculptor Louis Linck befriended Tillet and made a series of plaster busts commemorating him for his wrestling career. One of the busts is in the Chicago’s International Museum of Surgical Science.