If Shrek were based on a real person, it would likely be only loosely based on that person due to his cartoonish exaggeration. However, the artists behind Shrek actually did use a model who resembled their green monster with a golden heart.
Who Is Shrek Based On?
On September 10, a Facebook page called Film Junkie published a series of images with the caption, “Did you know that Maurice Tillet, the inspiration for Shrek, actually existed? He was a French aristocratic fighter.” Within the past day, the article has been seen over 10,000 times. We investigated the claims and found no proof that Shrek was modelled after Tillet.
Tillet, a guy from France who was born in Russia, was dubbed “The French Angel” because of his heavenly demeanour. In the 1930s and 1940s, he had a huge career as a professional wrestler. Huffington Post claims that Tillet was diagnosed with acromegaly when he was 17 years old. This condition, which is caused by an imbalance of hormones, manifests itself mostly in the enlargement of the bones of the face, hands, and feet.
Due to the uncanny likeness between Shrek and Tillet, speculations began spreading after the release of Shrek in 2001. In order to show how similar Shrek and Tillet are, the Facebook post displayed many images of the two side by side.
Nonetheless, there is no proof that the character of Shrek was influenced by or based on Tillet, despite the obvious similarities between the two. The film’s production company, DreamWorks, has never acknowledged this rumour either. Therefore, since no supporting evidence has been shown, we must reject this assertion.
Acromegaly Was Maurice Official Medical Diagnosis
According to his biographers, Maurice was a typical French kid when he was born in the Ural Mountains in 1903. He was given the nickname “the Angel” because of his angelic appearance, but as he matured, he learned that he had a disease that would alter his life irrevocably.
As an acromegaly, Maurice’s condition was determined by a medical professional. Swelling of the face, hands, and feet might be a symptom of a pituitary tumour that produces too much growth hormone. Overgrowth and thickness of the bones also characterise acromegaly, which significantly modifies the outward look of those who have it.
Maurice’s once delicate features got heavier, bigger, and squarer as his acromegaly worsened. Since his bigger hands and feet made him clumsy, he had to adjust the way he moved.
Young Maurice’s dreams of becoming a lawyer were dashed because of his illness. He believed that his appearance would put him at a significant disadvantage. Instead, he enlisted in the French Navy, where he spent the next five years working as an engineer.
Identifying The Cause Of The Disease And Its Sustainer
In his youth, Maurice excelled at sports and particularly liked playing rugby. Following a match in London, he was able to shake hands with King George V after being named to an all-France rugby squad. That was a moment of great pride for Maurice, and he shared it with everybody who would listen.
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In addition to being exceptionally bright, he was fluent in 14 tongues, and he aspired to become a lawyer. He earned his law degree but believed he would never amount to anything because of his deep voice and odd appearance. Rather than pursue his original career path, Maurice switched careers and eventually became a highly regarded Chief Petty Officer in the French Navy. After that, he decided to give acting a shot, and he eventually landed a few small roles in French films.
Getting Into The Wrestling Business
In 1937, while in Singapore, Maurice crossed paths with professional wrestler Karl Pojello. Since Karl saw that Maurice was physically capable of holding his own in a wrestling ring, he encouraged him to pursue that career. In Paris, Karl gave Maurice an apprenticeship in his trade. There was some success for Maurice, and he became well-known in France and England.
Due to World War II, the partners relocated to the United States in 1939, which was a turning point in Maurice’s professional life. To Maurice’s delight, he was introduced to the gifted wrestling promoter Paul Browser. Paul considered Maurice’s acromegaly a strength and used it to his advantage by making him the show’s headliner on multiple occasions.
As a result of his incredible displays of strength and skill, Maurice went unbeaten for a full year and four months. Maurice, also known as the “French Angel” in the ring, held the title of AWA World Heavyweight Champion from 1940 until 1942.
After seeing his success, many others tried to replicate it. Several other wrestlers came, each calling themselves an “Angel.” We saw the “Russian Angel,” the “Czech Angel,” and the “Canadian Angel.” Paul Olaffsen, commonly known as the “Swedish Angel,” was the only one of these imitators to actually have acromegaly.
The Fall Of A Legend
In February 1953, Maurice faced off against Bert Assirati, a former British Heavyweight Champion who had already won the title numerous times. His final years were spent residing with his manager Karl Pojella and his wife Olga. Lung cancer took their life of Karl on September 4, 1954.
Does The Legend Live On?
Over the years, many have speculated that the inspiration for the computer-animated ogre character Shrek was actually Maurice Tillet. Dreamworks, on the other hand, has never confirmed this. There’s an uncanny resemblance if it isn’t the same.