Monday 3 August 2015

The French Angel Inspiration for Shrek

Born in 1903 in St. Petersburg, Russia to French parents, Maurice Tillet was nicknamed The Angel because of his angelic face.  However, at the age of 18, he was diagnosed with acromegaly, a hormonal disorder which left his hands, feet and head abnormally enlarged.  The condition forced him to abandon his dream of becoming a lawyer.  Instead, he joined the Navy in France, where his family had fled during the Russian Revolution (

In 1937, Maurice was approached by someone to become a wrestler.  He agreed and soon became the main event in many boxing rings.  Nicknamed The French Angel, he remained undefeated for 19 months at the peak of his career.  He captured the world heavyweight championship not once but twice.  Maurice boxed until 1953 and passed away the following year of a heart condition.

In 1950, sculptor Louis Linck befriended Maurice and made a series of busts to commemorate his wrestling career.  One bust sits in the Chicago International Museum of Surgical Science.

In 2001, DreamWorks created Shrek, a kind hearted ogre who bore a striking resemblance to Maurice Tillet. Both had the enlarged bald head, the cauliflower ears and the toothy smile.  Both also had a kind heart, evident in the nickname The French Angel.

shrek tillet


  1. This is my faviourite movie why did they have to stop at 4?

  2. This is my faviourite movie why did they have to stop at 4?