Thursday, August 14, 2008

A True Giant

Sandy Allen has died, at only 53. You may not know the name, but if you've been a reader of the Guinness Book Of World Records during the past 30 years, you've probably seen her picture.

At 7' 7", she was the tallest woman in the world. Alas, like many giants, her growth was due to a tumor on her pituitary gland, which was rough on her body. In later years, just standing up was hard, and she got around in a wheelchair.

I'm sure it was no fun being that big, but she made the best of it. She appeared in a number of movies and TV shows, often just as herself, which was remarkable enough, but occasionally playing a role. Her most memorable work was in Fellini's Casanova. Fellini often chose actors for their unusual physical appearance, so Sandy was right up his alley. The part isn't much--she's just a giantess (squired around by a couple of little guys--Fellini liked dwarfs as much as giants) who catches Casanova's attention for a few scenes--but I'm glad her size made some positive things possible for her.

I actually met her once, if that's the word for it. For a number of years she worked at the Guinness Museum in Niagara Falls. While I was in town, I noticed a crowd outside, and there she stood, head and shoulders (and then some) above everyone. It's hard to believe someone could be so tall--you kept thinking she was standing on something.

I didn't talk to her, but then, I don't know what I would have said. I'm sure she'd heard "how's the weather up there?" enough times. Well, I hope she's enjoying the weather up there right now.


Blogger Sandy Allen | All About Me Photography said...

Its strange, as someone also named "Sandy Allen," to see so many entries today about the passing of this Sandy Allen. I've read quite a bit about her since first coming across her in Guinness when I was a kid, and she was so much more than just her 'sideshow' looks. She will be missed!

5:11 AM, August 14, 2008  
Blogger LAGuy said...

When I saw the above comment, for a second I thought the reports of her death were greatly exaggerated.

Well, you're the big Sandy Allen now. I'm guessing you're not over seven feet, but I hope you represent the name well.

10:48 AM, August 14, 2008  

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