Andre Rene Roussimoff, 46, who became a professional wrestling legend and also something of a Hollywood actor under the name "Andre the Giant," was found dead in a hotel room in Paris after an apparent heart attack.
The wrestler, whose death was announced by the World Wrestling Federation, returned to his native France two weeks ago to attend his father's funeral. He visited his family on Wednesday, then returned to his hotel room, where he was found dead. No further details of his death were available.
Mr. Roussimoff was born with acromegaly. That disorder is marked by progressive enlargement of the head, face, hands, feet and chest, due to excessive secretion of growth hormones.
The 7-foot-4, 520-pound wrestler lived on a 200-acre ranch in Ellerbe, N.C., where he raised quarter horses and longhorn cattle.
He also owned a Montreal restaurant and had appeared in movies.
But wrestling kept him on the road 300 days a year. His onetime wrestling nemesis was Hulk Hogan. The two once fought a match on NBC-TV that was the first professional wrestling carried by any television network in more than 30 years.
Another wrestling opponent once said, "Andre's awkward, he's big, he's strong, he's dangerous, and you just go out and survive those matches. They're not pretty, but people want to see them. And he hurts you every night."
He made the headlines in 1986 after he announced he had lost 100 pounds simply by giving up beer. He then revealed, however, that he had been drinking two cases of beer a day.
In addition to wrestling, Mr. Roussimoff had appeared in the Rob Reiner-produced film "The Princess Bride" in 1987. He played the gentle giant Fezzik, who evolved from a fearless hit man into the hero's brave, lovable and loyal henchman. His work in the film received critical acclaim.
Reiner recalled that when he was casting the movie, which called for a giant, he immediately took off for France to recruit Mr. Roussimoff. At their first meeting, Reiner said, he found "this land mass sitting on a bar stool."
He gently told the prospective actor that he was just a little worried by the wrestler's lack of acting experience and his possibly troublesome French accent. Reiner said Mr. Roussimoff growled, "Don't worry, I get it."
Screenwriter William Goldman said that Mr. Roussimoff democratically addressed everyone on the set as "Boss," and that his instincts were "pure and natural. He never missed a mark."
Mr. Roussimoff was born on a farm in the French Alps. By age 14, he already stood 6 feet 3 and weighed 200 pounds. He took off for Paris, where he worked as a furniture mover before taking up professional wrestling. He later moved to Canada and eventually to this country. His annual income, in 1987, was estimated at about $1 million. CHARLES S. CURTIS Navy Commander and Teacher
Charles S. Curtis, 72, a retired Navy commander who had taught earth sciences at Annandale High School in the 1970s, died Jan. 28 at a nursing home in Phoenix after a series of strokes.
A former Great Falls, Va., resident, Cmdr. Curtis made his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was a Washington area resident from the early 1960s until 1991.
He served in the Navy for 20 years before retiring in the early 1960s. He had flown off carriers in the Pacific during World War II and served in Korea during the war there. He later was executive officer of the carrier Kitty Hawk. He was stationed at the Pentagon when he retired from active duty.
From the 1970s through mid-1980s, he worked summers and weekends as a naturalist with the Fairfax County parks agency.
Cmdr. Curtis, a Kansas native, was an earth sciences graduate of American University.
His first wife, Jane Hull Curtis, died in 1985. Survivors include his wife, Araceli, of Scottsdale; two children from his first marriage, Charles M., of Beach Haven, N.J., and Cynthia C. Archer of Herndon; a brother, Frank, of Medford, Ore.; a sister, Frances Gustafson of Dodge City, Kan.; and three grandchildren. BETH K. OLCH Area Resident
Beth Kelisky Olch, 93, an area resident since 1986 who was a retired public health nurse, died Jan. 27 in Bethesda at the Carriage Hill nursing home, where she had lived about five years. She had Alzheimer's disease.
Mrs. Olch, whose residence was in Kensington, was born in what is now Moldova. She came to the United States in 1906 and grew up in Norfolk.
A registered nurse, she was a 1924 graduate of Johns Hopkins University and received a master's degree in public health nursing from the University of Oregon. She was a public health nurse in Tucson in the late 1920s and 1930s, and then in Los Angeles before retiring in the early 1940s.
Her marriage to John Woolfolk ended in divorce.
Her second husband, Dr. Isaac Yale Olch, whom she married in 1941, died in 1985. Survivors include a stepson, David Olch of Tucson; four grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter. Another stepson, Dr. Peter Olch, died in 1991. IRIS K. DEL VECCHIO Hardware Executive
Iris K. Del Vecchio, 88, a retired vice president of the Peoples Hardware Co., died of arteriosclerosis Jan. 29 at the Bethesda Retirement & Nursing Center in Chevy Chase.
Mrs. Del Vecchio, a resident of Bethesda, was born in North Carolina. She moved to Washington as a child, and she attended Central High School and Sidwell Friends School.
In 1955, she became executive vice president of Peoples Hardware, which was started by her husband's father. She retired in 1975.
Mrs. Del Vecchio was a volunteer at the Florence Crittenton Home and a member of the Kenwood Golf & Country Club in Bethesda and the La Gorse Country Club in Miami Beach.
Her husband, Samuel Del Vecchio, died in 1979.
Survivors include four children, Iris Cotter and Claire D. Johnston, both of Bethesda, Jane Reichert of Chevy Chase and Marie Valenza of St. Leonard, Md.; 14 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren.