I love GG11

Josie Gold is the Sidney Crosby of Four Habs Fans.

And she has her own site, Women on the Ledge.

Here’s her Andrei the Giant take on AK46 vs. Kovy

Boone, forgive me, but if you’re going to run Josie’s fabulous stuff of André, readers are going to get a history lesson…

Fond farewell to a wrestling giant
`It used to sadden him to see that he sometimes frightened children because of his size’

Montreal Gazette
Saturday, Feb, 27, 1993

DAVE STUBBS
The Gazette

ELLERBE, N.C. – Frenchy Bernard has long worked the fields of the AFJ Ranch on horseback, raising the only Texas longhorn cattle in this neck of North Carolina.

On Wednesday, Bernard slowly rode the land again, dressed in black and choking back tears as he sowed the ashes of a cherished friend into the rich soil that he carries home under his fingernails every night.

On this crisp, cloudless winter afternoon, family and friends of Andre the Giant gathered to remember professional wrestling’s greatest attraction, paying a final, emotional tribute to a man whose physique, they said, was dwarfed by the size of his heart.

Bernard, a native of St. Alphonse de Caplan in the Gaspe, and his American wife of 18 years, Jackie, have lived on this ranch with Andre the Giant since 1980.

They have enjoyed a simple life with their horses and cattle and dogs, nurturing their quiet dreams and their privacy off Highway 73 in the shadow of Ellerbe, a come-to-life Mayberry two hours north of Charlotte that has one traffic light and a seven-page telephone book.

This was a family in the truest sense, so Andre’s kin, Frenchy and Jackie Bernard, decided that they would honor his final wish and return him to the land he loved – even if they had to move heaven and earth to do so.

Andre Roussimoff was 46 when he died of heart failure in his sleep in Paris on Jan. 28, a week after he buried his father, Boris. He lived an extraordinary life, wrestling for 25 years, starring in movies and on television, becoming wealthy beyond his dreams and travelling the world as sport’s most recognized athlete next to Muhammad Ali.

But in death, as in life, Andre’s fabled size haunted him. No crematorium in Paris could accommodate his body. Flights for his return to the U.S. had to be juggled because the cargo holds of several connecting aircraft weren’t large enough for his 300-pound, custom-built oak casket.

When his remains finally arrived in Charlotte, a family friend volunteered a truck when the coffin wouldn’t fit into a hearse. The funeral home had to bring in a forklift to transport him. Ultimately, a mahogany case for his ashes, which weighed 19 pounds, had to be built.

Born to normal-sized parents on a farm outside of Paris, Andre was afflicted with acromegaly, a glandular disease that gorges the body with an almost unchecked flow of human growth hormone. At his death he was 6-foot-10 – promoters creatively but inaccurately billed him as 7-foot-4 – and just shy of 600 pounds.

Early in his life he turned his attention to wrestling and made Montreal his first North American home after arriving in 1970. The city remained one of his favorites throughout his career.

Famous for his love of good food and fine spirits, Andre even bought his own French restaurant downtown in the late ’70s. Le Pichet was an investment he made for his retirement – not that he was a skilled restaurateur.

“He never let me pay for a meal, ever,” said Edouard Carpentier, one of Andre’s early mentors. “If he knew you, you couldn’t pay for anything.”

Badly in need of cash and unable to maintain the business because of his travel, Andre sold Le Pichet in the mid ’80s to Denise Filiatrault, a Quebec entertainer.

It is little wonder that Montreal could not contain Le Geant Jean Ferre, as he was known here. He achieved instant, colossal fame in the U.S., Europe and Japan, often working in three countries on consecutive days.

Frenchy Bernard, his thin face carved with deep valleys by the sun and hard living, his long gray curls spilling to the shoulders from beneath a black cowboy hat, will never forget his first encounter with the man who soon would be advertised as the eighth wonder of the world.

“I was wrestling when I met Andre in New Orleans in 1971,” said Bernard, now 56. “A promoter told me about this new guy coming in, this great big guy. I remember lacing up my boots and all of a sudden I looked at the door and hell, I seen the body but I couldn’t see no head.”

Their friendship blossomed through the years until Bernard, fired as a referee in 1980 by a Florida talent booker, finally accepted Andre’s open invitation to join him in a massive house he had bought near Ellerbe.

“I met Andre in his New York hotel room and he told me and Jackie to move out to the house,” Bernard said. “He loved Jackie. She could do no wrong in his eyes.

“I didn’t have any money so he gave me a big pile of bills, about $9,000, that I had to stuff down my boots and into my shirt. I went out to the place and started fixing it up.”

Within a few years Bernard was renting a few acres of neighboring farmland to raise cattle and run his horses.

“Andre saw Frenchy’s love of the land,” Jackie Bernard said, “and there was only one thing for him to do: he bought the whole farm for him.”

The homestead grew instantly. The breathtaking three-storey country house – its bathrooms are the size of the average master bedroom, shower heads are eight feet from the floor and the living room features a custom-built recliner twice conventional size – now sat above a 200-acre ranch, 73 of it cleared for cattle. Texas longhorns soon grazed the land.

“Andre would buy me a new truck every two years, whether I needed it or not,” Bernard said. “Sometimes I wouldn’t even know about it. Ford would just show up and put it in the yard.”

Ironically, Andre’s immense fame left him terribly lonely. Friends say he saw the ranch as a return to his happy childhood, when he worked on his grandfather’s farm outside Paris.

Indeed, the Ellerbe land was Andre’s island in a sea of gawking strangers, con-men and fair-weather friends. He would ride the grounds on a three-wheel all-terrain vehicle and spend hours in the field, basking in the company of the cattle and the Canada geese at the pond.

“It used to sadden him to see that he sometimes frightened children because of his size,” said Colorado cattleman Darol Dickinson, who sold Andre the livestock. “He loved children, as he loved animals. With all his travel and the constant attention, this became his non-combat zone.”

He already was in failing health six weeks ago when he received the call from Paris that his father had no more than a few days to live. Bernard and his wife hugged Andre goodbye and he arrived in France shortly before Boris Roussimoff’s death. He watched his father lowered into the ground and a few days later went to sleep in his hotel room, never to awaken.

“His death was a shock to me because while he was in pain he appeared to be fine,” said Janine Jones, a hair stylist in nearby Rockingham who since last summer has helped out at the ranch and made Andre his favorite ribeye steaks, croissants, homemade soups and baked pork chops.

“Andre had a world of respect for Frenchy and Frenchy had it back, it was a mutual thing. They always shook hands, first thing in the morning and the last thing at night.”Frenchy was like his son and Jackie was like his daughter. Although they were taking care of him, they were like his children. That’s just the way it was.

“As I was leaving the last time I saw him I hugged him around his neck and his head and kissed him on the cheek as I always did,” she said. “The difference this time was when he hugged me back, he squeezed me.

“I remember the feeling of the moment, that I had a place in his heart. But I know that Andre must have known it was near the end.”

As they tried to deal with their own grief this month, Frenchy and Jackie Bernard planned Wednesday’s memorial service.

Wrestlers spread the word among themselves and several hundred people attended, including current stars Hulk Hogan, Randy (Macho Man) Savage and Brutus Beefcake. World Wrestling Federation head Vince McMahon, whose father booked Andre on cross-continent barnstorming tours during the ’70s, attended with two of his Quebec-native staff, Pat Patterson and Rene Goulet.

Bernard’s brother, Roland, flew in from Manitoba. His sister, Cana, and Boris Roussimoff, Andre’s 26-year-old nephew, arrived from Montreal. Four Japanese journalists attended as well.

Jennifer Six, a 19-year-old who moved on to the ranch to be cared for by Andre and the Bernards when her own family situation turned sour 10 years ago, mourned the loss of “a wonderful man.”

Andre was eulogized by a longtime ranch friend, his doctor, a cattleman, a former powerlifter and a referee.

But it was Hogan, incongruous as he stood on a ranch dressed in a black suit, who had to stop twice, unable to bite back tears as he remembered his friend and most fearsome wrestling foe. Their match at Wrestlemania III in 1987 drew 93,173 to the Pontiac Silverdome and made Hogan wrestling’s unchallenged superstar.

“Even though he was hurt really bad, he wanted to help take my career to another level,” Hogan said. “I body-slammed him only because he let me do it. He said, `Slam me, boss.’

“I’ll never forget how kind and how generous he was.”

The Bernards then saddled up with five other riders, bearing flags of the AFJ Ranch, the U.S., North Carolina, France and the Confederacy and rode into a field led by Dave Smith, who officiated the ceremony. Bernard spread Andre’s remains from two saddlebags and the riders returned to pray at a small campfire.

“If all the people who loved Andre could have come today this ranch wouldn’t have been big enough,” Bernard said. “If I had only 10 days left on this Earth, I’d give nine of them to Andre. He may have been very big in size but his heart was even bigger. He got more out of life than anyone I’ve ever known.”

Top, from Josie: André and Kovy.

Below, from Stubbs files: André Roussimoff, aka Le Géant Jean Ferré and later André the Giant, arrives in Montreal for the first time in 1970. From left, the great Édouard Carpentier, promoter Gerry Legault, wrestler Yvon Robert Jr.

70 Comments

  1. Exit716 says:

    Dany Heatley bears a strong resemblance to Andre The Giant.

  2. Mike Boone says:

    She has an art degree from York U. And she’s wicked smart.

  3. GoldenGirl11 says:

    Hey I thought my parents were the only ones who bragged about my lobotomy, I mean BFA, from York. I will need a signed affidavit on the wicked smart thing.

    Thanks CF 

  4. GoldenGirl11 says:

    Wow. That’s nice to hear. Kinda picked it up on my own and it has proven to be a useful tool for someone with a twisted mind.

  5. Sheldon says:

    Tarter Sauce 2 – Truculence 1

    Behold the power of Cod!

  6. Eliisa says:

    She is my hero that GG11. I usually check out that site (FHF) to see her incredibly wizardry. As someone who has to use Photoshop professionally I have the utmost respect for her mastery. It’s an art.

  7. punkster says:

    She’s a gem!

  8. Sheldon says:

    Need to pad that lead with a little tarter sauce!

  9. TOEmastro says:

    TSN:’ the leafs will show their strong start was not a fluke when they host the ISLANDERS tonight”

    hurts when it bites that hard

  10. TOEmastro says:

    Saw the article about big kosTITS and the picture seemed to mesh pretty well, great job, if not so very very wrong

    Olé, olé, olé oleé

  11. Chuck says:

    I once had truculence on my cod. Didn’t care for it much.

  12. GoldenGirl11 says:

    Thanks

  13. GoldenGirl11 says:

    Thanks

  14. HardHabits says:

    Two things.

    1) I was a big fan of Édouard Carpentier as a kid.

    2) That photoshopping is A-1. Great job!!!!

  15. Sheldon says:

    Fish sticks rule!!! Isles: 1 – Leafs: 0

  16. RiverviewCanadien says:

    hahaha

    Awesome work GG!

  17. lawyergirl77 says:

    Lemme get right on that affidavit thing!!

  18. 100HABS says:

    I was never much into wrestling, but André was the best actor in Princess Bride. Without him and his one-liners, that movie would never have become the cult classic it is.

  19. MikeMcLaren says:

    Stubbs just blew my mind.

    Did you see how old Andre the Giant was when he died?

    46!

    Woah.

    /\\ike
    GO HABS GO!

  20. Sith says:

    Forget ”AK”. Its ATG!

  21. Shiloh says:

    That’s better.

  22. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    I don’t like seeing the Gazette sportswriters fight. The editorial guys could go after each other with chainsaws and rubbing alcohol, and I’d applaud, but the sports and comics have credibility to me. I dislike Todd’s work, and enjoy Stubbs, Boone and yes, Fisher.

    The Halak trade was a hockey error (business aside), getting no solid backup was a bigger error after the fact and Price has a five game run behind him. One good week is no proof he’s turned it around. We won’t know that for months. I hope he has, by the way. Halak’s a better goalie now, but he’s gone. You’ve got to cheer for Price now, or give up on the Habs. I like Eller, and I see the team no differently than I did this time last year – white knuckles on the first ten shots at Price.

    I’m not going to crap on Price, though Gauthier could use a hat. But then again, no one’s going to read me – Todd is a different story…

  23. Shiloh says:

    You obviously care – but then again, you appear to have the perceptive ability of a frozen dew worm. Carry on kakka83.

  24. Shiloh says:

    Of course neither Fisher or Todd have done anything but write – well. And Boone, despite protesting how nice he is, repeats the charges. I guess there’s a lot of envy there.

  25. larisalapointe says:

    Give it a rest dog. The majority of people on this site dislike Todd/Fisher crapping on the kid. Envy those two miserable guys? hahahahaha
    Only ppl like you are their fans.

  26. Shiloh says:

    Even if many don’t agree with them, since when is the majority always right? If you bothered to read their columns you would see that Boone is, as per usual, exaggerating. And – if you think he killed the thread yesterday out of the goodness of his heart I’ve got some land in Florida I want to sell you. It’s really pretty sad to see the lesser writers trashing the best two colleagues the Gazette has.

  27. Propwash says:

    As much as I like Fisher, I cannot take his articles too seriously anymore.

    As for Todd, I just cannot bother reading the bile the guy spews. Boone made a valid point with that picture.

     

    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  28. larisalapointe says:

    The majority, yes, is not always right but they rule. I used to read their articles, until I could no longer stand their negative energy, Why he killed the thread? Who cares. Shiloh are you Jack Todd in disguise?

  29. makka83 says:

    I’m only commenting because you lack of respect for the guy whose blog your commenting in.

    Get a life loser and get off your couch and do something productive. Your obsession with anything anti-Price is ridiculous.

  30. makka83 says:

    You are right. Let’s find a 23 year old to trash. Never trash people your own age, that is wrong, even if it was a joke. But a 23 year old, who is less than half your age, trash away, question their work ethic.. even without meeting them.

     

    Boone has at least met Jack and Red. How many times have Red and Jack met Price?

    I hope that Red and Jack were better fathers than they are showing they could be. Imagine their kid not wating to do the dishes…

    Red: “I traded the wrong son!”

    Jack: “My son is showing no heart. It’s a worrying sign.”

    It’s a sport guys, get over yourselves.

     

    Also, Shiloh, just because Red has been watching hockey for so long, does not make him a good or expert writer. I know a lot of 400 lbs guys who watch football day and night, none of them know what it is like to play. They know what it’s like to be a fan…

  31. makka83 says:

    All of this because Price proved you WRONG. You are fighting a losing battle. All the Anti-Price and pro-halak have left this site of shame. They will be back once Price loses a bad game (it will happen at some point, all goalies do lose bad games like Halak did last night).

  32. Shiloh says:

    I’m not Jack Todd and I’m not Red Fisher, but I think it’s pretty sad that their so-called colleague is trashing them at every opportunity. I don’t really care why the thread was killed, but it was Boone who started the shit-flinging and now he wants love for being nice? Yep, that makes sense.

    Todd and Fisher thought they kept the wrong goalie – so did most Habs fans. Todd wasn’t thrilled with some of Gainey’s moves – many fans agreed with him. We’re paying superstar money for a 2nd or 3rd line centre – are we supposed to just regurgitate a raucous “Go Habs” and ignore the mismanagement? Price went into a 2-year swoon - should we have ignored that?

    The real issue here is simple – a colleague who can’t ever hope to write as well as either of those gentlemen is using a public forum to insult them. That shows a lot of class – all of it 2nd. 

  33. makka83 says:

    Your own logic fails once again:

    The real issue is two old men, trashing a 23 year old they NEVER met AND can never hope to play hockey as well as him.

    Yes trashing a 23 year old guy over and over is CLASSY.

    If you don’t like Boone, please show yourself the door.

    The real reason you, Todd and Red are angry is because you were PROVEN WRONG about Carey so far. One bad outing and I assure you the 3 of you will be here trashing the guy again. That’s what happens when your life is meaningless, you crap on other people.

    Boone made a joke (yes it was a little mean) ONCE and deleted it. Quit making a big deal out of nothing and either shut up (because you are wrong), show some respect OR leave for St. Louis.

    Noone likes you.

  34. larisalapointe says:

    If this is about Halak, I won’t waste my time with you. You guys are in the minority now; soon to be obscure.
    Class my friend is standing up for something. Trashing is the easy route Todd/Fisher/Leclerc/Tremblay/Hartley/Shiloh and others have taken.

  35. Shiloh says:

    Who mentioned Halak? Are you saying that all fans should check their minds at the door? Were sportswriters supposed to NOT notice that Price went into a huge tailspin?

    I agree that trashing is the easy way out – and it seems to be the only song Boone knows these days.

  36. Shiloh says:

    Kakka83, you can’t prove something wrong that has already happened. Is that too tough for you to grasp? Price sucked badly for a couple of years. Our other goalie played super, yet management could never bring themselves to call him #1 and traded his ass as fast as they could. I hope Price wins the Vezina because I’m a Habs fan.

    But the trashing we should be concerned about is the reckless crap that Boone has been flinging.

  37. ButJohnnyLovesHockey says:

    You’re great! As an aspiring writer (not particularly sports-related…) I enjoy your wit and style.

    Now if you can find out WHY Spacek and Hamrlik play every other game drunker than a Russian in February we’ll be in business – Spacek was crazy last game and not in the good way.

  38. larisalapointe says:

    No, sports writers are supposed to be unemotional in their assessment of talent. Anybody who believed/believes Price sucks knows d*ck about hockey.
    And what is your obsession with Boone? I can’t answer for him, but I enjoy his work. Have the other two even been to a game or watched a game lately?

  39. larisalapointe says:

    I should also add that the team got 5 out of 6 points in 4 days. How abour some kudos from the trashers for the Habs teamwork?

  40. Shiloh says:

    Larisa – anybody who couldn’t see how poorly Price played the past couple of years wasn’t watching. I have no obsession with Boone – I think he’s pretty average. I just want to know why Boone is obsessed with trashing Fisher and Todd – so much so that he goes at them every day – even a day after he was forced to remove his incendiary crap.

  41. larisalapointe says:

    Shiloh, it wasn’t poor play, it was a kid maturing into the elite goaltender he will be. The rest of your post, I have no comment. I have no inside track to The Gazette sports writers as I don’t hang around their water cooler.

  42. Shiloh says:

    Hey kakkahead – Price hasn’t proved anything yet. But you’d love him if he sucked 10 years in a row instead of just 2 or 3. I get that. Now why don’t you see if your Mom needs any help with the laundry.

  43. Shiloh says:

    OK – he was maturing – and while maturing he was not playing great. The only bad part is that management handed him the Number 1 over three years ago. I guess he wasn’t ready. Hope he comes into his own this year.

  44. makka83 says:

    Boone, Todd and Fisher are colleagues, they can make fun of each other all they want. Boone was FUNNY.

    Also, you call Boone’s JOKE an obsession with trashing Red and Todd? Seriously, mentioning Todd what? twice? and mentioning fisher once? That’s obsession?

    What about Fisher and Todd trashing Price over and over and over… i guess that’s good journalism.

    Honestly man, show some freaking respect. Todd is a useless piece of garbage who knows nothing about anything. He’s a grumpy fan like more of us who got lucky at getting a gig with the Gazette. The only reason he is still employed is because of people such as yourself who read his garbage.

    Red’s way past this prime. He is no better than an old dedicated fan.

    Fischer and Todd need to show some respect for someone who is way better at what he does than they ever were at what they do. At the end, noone cares about Todd and Fischer except you.

    You are a pathetic loser.

  45. FrederictonHabsfan says:

    I’m not buying it. 

    Nothing you have written makes me think you want Carey to be successful in the least.  In fact, I’d bet money that you are pulling for Carey to fail miserably. (I also take major issue that Carey played “horribly” the last 2 years.  Because anyone with any hockey knowledge can tell you that, while he definitely had moments he’d like back, that overall he played fairly well, but that Halak just played a bit better.  Not to mention that the team played better in front of Halak for some reason)

    But I stand by my assertionthat you want Carey to Fail so you can come on here and act high and mighty and play the “i told you so” line.  It’s a classic move that both Fisher and Todd seem to be trying to pull as well.  They want the team and Carey to suck so they (and you) can claim you know so much more than the habs management and everyone else.

    People like that don’t deserve to write for the hometown paper or call themselves Habs fans.  If you wanty to be a Halak fan, then go to a St. Louis Blues message board… if you can find one.

  46. FrederictonHabsfan says:

    Clearly you are nicer than I am.  I assumed the Gazette may have taken issue with it.

    However, I respect your not wanting to cause strife in the workplace.

    However, it wasn’t enough to prevent Mr Fisher from giving Carey no credit whatsoever in his article today.  He felt the need to mention 2 goals in 2 shots, and conveniently left out how he shut the door the rest of the way.

    What exactly do Todd and Fisher have against Carey anyway? 

     

     

  47. makka83 says:

    Price, at 21 and 22 had a rough year, yet he posted decent numbers. Just because your brain cannot grasp that young athletes need time to develop does not mean Price sux.

    No, I won’t love Price if he sucked for 10 years. How do you know that?

    Halak hasn’t proven anything either except that he got eliminated to Philly in 5 games. Got pulled twice and was in goals for JM’s great defensive system that worked in the playoffs.

    Look, I love Halak, he played great and much better than Price. Our problem was that people were trashing Price because 1) Halak was playing better and 2) Management put him up too early. He needs patience. If you don’t have it then go cheer for some other team.

  48. Shiloh says:

    I wouldn’t know about losing arguments – at least not to you. Bye bye.

  49. Mike Boone says:

    I wish I knew. In the room, where neither of the aforementioned care to venture, Price is a good kid. Not the most quotable guy in the world, but a shy (at least with the media), good-natured country boy with a sly sense of humour and a fierce will to win. Was the over-hype his fault? No. So why keep ragging on him? Again, it’s a mystery to me.

  50. Shiloh says:

    Sad little boy – go tease the neighbour’s cat.

  51. makka83 says:

    it’s tough being hated and continuously losing arguments isn’t it… so sad and pathetic…

    i feel for u man. it could have been worse, we could have kept Halak…

  52. Shiloh says:

    And I don’t give a crap what you think, Mr. Pompous. The idea that you can decide who deserves to write or to cheer for a team is mind-blowing. Maybe a fascist country would work for you.

     

  53. larisalapointe says:

    Four H Fans is “Saturday Night Live” of the 70s and 80s funny.
    Thanks!

  54. GoldenGirl11 says:

    Thank you

  55. FrederictonHabsfan says:

    Seems like Mr. Boone must have gotten a slap on the knuckles for yesterdays, now buried, photoshop.

    It was funny, and also factual. IMHO.

  56. Mike Boone says:

    It was funny and factual.

    But too mean.

    Mr. Boone is a softie at heart. Which helps explain why Mr. Boone doesn’t defecate from great heights on a 23-year-old kid, like my two learned colleagues – neither of whom has ever been within a microphone’s distance of Carey Price -  like to do.

  57. MikeMcLaren says:

    This is amazingly well-done Photoshop work… maybe not quite as good as Boone’s but pretty good.

    /\\ike
    GO HABS GO!

  58. tony d says:

    Andre’s never looked so good.

  59. avatar_58 says:

    Andrei the Giant. New nickname :D

  60. Chorske says:

    Kovy: QUIT PHOTOSHOPPING ME!

    AK46: …you are looking kind of… WEE

    Kovy: STOP RHYMING! I MEAN IT!

    AK46: … anybody want a peanut??

  61. andrewberkshire says:

    Princess Bride reference ftw!!!

  62. GoldenGirl11 says:

    Just last week my family also compared me to Sid only it was for crying after I didn’t get my way.

    Thanks

  63. Chuck says:

    Nice work, GG!

  64. scrowe21 says:

    Hahaha

    ————-

    http://www.easports.com/media/play/video/42186790

    2 on 1 Fake pass deke

  65. SeriousFan09 says:

    Haha! That rules.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  66. makka83 says:

    Trading Halak was no hockey error.

    So far, Price is playing better and putting on the Ws. He has much more experience than Halak AND is 2 years younger.

    I’m not saying Halak isn’t a good goalie but Halak is already starting his prime. Price still has a year or two to go. Now consider how good he is playing now, he will get much better.

    He faced every situation known to a goalie in 3 years.

  67. Shiloh says:

    Sob, sniffle….”I love you Carey!!”


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