Shrek’s Story: He Was Inspired by a REAL Person

9 months ago

It is interesting to note that Shrek, the popular animated character that we all know and love, bears a striking resemblance to a real-life person, known as the French Angel. Yes, you read that right. However, something very tragic happened to him, which inspired the creation of this beloved character we know today — the one and only, kind-hearted Shrek. Let’s see how he came to be.

Meet the person rumored to have inspired Shrek.

Maurice Tillet was a prominent wrestling star during the 1930s and 1940s. Despite being called “The French Angel” by his childhood friends because of his blonde hair and angelic face, Tillet was diagnosed with acromegaly at the age of 17. This hormonal disorder causes excessive bone growth, particularly in the hands, feet, and face.

After Tillet’s acromegaly-induced growth spurt, photos of him show a striking resemblance to Shrek, the lovable ogre from the 2001 movie. Despite his childhood dream of becoming a lawyer, Tillet joined the French navy and later pursued a career in professional wrestling in 1937.

As much as Tillet tried to live a normal life, his condition continued to progress.

Despite his unusual appearance, Maurice Tillet led a remarkable life and adapted to the challenges caused by his condition. Unfortunately, during his lifetime, the treatments available for acromegaly were limited, and as his condition progressed, his cardiovascular system struggled to keep up with his body’s continuous growth. As a result, Maurice grew weaker, and the strength of his character as the “French Angel” began to decline.

Maurice worked with Louis Linck to create several plaster busts of his face during his declining health. These busts were intended to serve 2 purposes. First, to commemorate his wrestling career, and second, to document how acromegaly affects the human body. The busts, which are now in the possession of the International Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame, serve as a testament to Maurice’s courage and resilience in the face of his condition.

Maurice Tillet passed away at the age of 50 on September 4, 1954, due to a heart attack resulting from his acromegaly. It’s widely rumored that Maurice’s unique appearance served as the inspiration for the character design of Shrek. While DreamWorks Animation has never confirmed this, the similarities between the 2 characters are hard to ignore. Maurice and Shrek both refused to let their unconventional looks define them and went on to lead remarkable lives.

While Maurice Tillet will always be remembered for his appearance, his legacy goes far beyond that. He was an accomplished wrestler and a resilient individual who faced his condition with courage and dignity. Through the internet, Maurice will forever be remembered as the man who inspired everybody’s favorite ogre, Shrek.


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What a remarkable man who showed such strength and preservation in his life. He seemed to have such a wonderful spirit and displayed such fearlessness in the face of his own difficulties. I can see similarities in the look of the Shrek character and The French Angel. I wish there was more they could have done to help him through this process medically. He sounds like he was very brave and kind.


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