The Story of Robert Wadlow

He’s the tallest man in history. And a sweetheart too!

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  • IMDB Rating = 8.3 (just 9 votes)
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Review of “The Story of Robert Wadlow”

I found the short doc fascinating. Here are some key facts or takeaways about Wadlow (the tallest man in history!):

  • As a Baby: Robert Pershing Wadlow was born in Alton, Illinois, on February 22, 1918, as a perfectly normal, healthy eight-and-a-half-pound baby. By six months, he weighed 30 pounds and at 18 months, 67 pounds.
  • By Age 5: Robert was already five feet one inch tall by the age of 5, towering over his classmates.
  • By Age 8: In third grade, he was taller than his teacher.
  • By Age 10: Robert was 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) and 211 lbs.
  • Normal Childhood Activities: Despite his size, Robert engaged in normal childhood activities like running a lemonade stand and playing with other children.
  • Medical Condition: His extraordinary growth was due to an overactive pituitary gland, identified during a visit to Barnes Medical Hospital in St. Louis. However, corrective surgery was not pursued due to potential risks.
  • Education: Robert attended Milton Elementary School and Alton High School. He later enrolled in Shurtleff College, aiming for a law degree, but left after one semester due to difficulties navigating the campus.
  • Family Life: Robert had four younger siblings, all of whom were of normal size. There were no other instances of abnormal growth in his family.
  • Public Appearances: Robert worked with the Peters Shoe Company, making public appearances. He wore size 37.5 shoes, the largest at the time.
  • Nicknames: Rober was also known as the “Alton Giant” and the “Giant of Illinois”.
  • Personal Interests: He was a member of the DeMolay Society and the Franklin Masonic Temple, where a special chair was built for him. His Masonic ring was size 25, the largest ever made.
  • Final Measurements: At his last hospital visit, Robert’s height was recorded at 8 feet 11.9 inches, and he weighed 439 pounds, confirming him as the tallest person in recorded history.
  • Death and Legacy: Robert Wadlow passed away on July 15, 1940, at 22 years old, due to a leg infection. His grave is at Upper Alton Cemetery, Alton, IL.

Robert is remembered fondly, not just for his size, but for his character, positive outlook and kindness.

Other Questions About Robert Wadlow (not in the documentary)

A huge number of folks ask these other questions about Robert. Here are some answers I dug up.

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelly, Chief Maniac of Daily Doc