Did You Know: Shrek Was Based on a Real-Life Human?

Did You Know: Shrek Was Based on a Real-Life Human?

Aug 10, 2011


Maurice Tillet was an intelligent university graduate from France who spoke 14 languages, played chess, wrote poetry, and wanted to be a lawyer. In the 1920s, Tillet skipped out on a formal career due to a rare pituitary disorder that caused his bones to grow uncontrollably, resulting in a Cro-Magnon man appearance that he decided to use to his advantage. Legend says he would eventually become the inspiration for the green ogre with the Scottish accent, Shrek.
After his diagnosis, Tillet invented a new persona for himself and moved to the United States as a professional wrestler dubbed "Freak Ogre of the Ring" by audiences. His real moniker was "The French Angel," and Tillet took the world championship title from Steve "Crusher" Casey in 1944. The jovial giant's fighting career ended in 1954 when he died of a heart attack at 51-years-old.
Before his passing, there were three life casts made from of his unique frame. One went to the York Barbell Building in Pennsylvania, another was donated to the International Wrestling Museum in Iowa, and the third went to a friend. There is currently a bust of Tillet at the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago. Check out a few pictures of Tillet below. There are rumors that Shrek was based on SNL comedian Chris Farley as well as a character from a children's book, but it's easy to see the uncanny resemblance to the computer-animated creature that moviegoers have grown to love.

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