Is Shrek inspired by wrestler Maurice Tillet, what was his cause of death and was Olga his wife

Is Shrek inspired by wrestler Maurice Tillet, what was his cause of death and was Olga his wife

Is Shrek inspired by wrestler Maurice Tillet and what was his cause of death 

Social media platforms such as X/Twitter, Reddit etc., have been abuzz with rumors suggesting that the character Shrek may have drawn inspiration from the Russian-French wrestler Maurice Tillet.

But is it true or just a rumor? If you’re also curious to know then, let’s delve into the truth behind this speculation.

Maurice Tillet, a prominent figure in professional wrestling during the 1940s, achieved widespread recognition under the ring name “The French Angel.”

Is Shrek inspired by Maurice Tillet, what was his cause of death and was Olga his wife

He garnered significant attention not only for his wrestling prowess but also for his striking physical appearance.

Tillet’s distinctive features bore an uncanny resemblance to the character Shrek, leading many to speculate that he may have influenced the creation of the iconic character.

Truth behind Rumors

Nevertheless, William Steig, the mastermind behind Shrek, never officially credited Maurice Tillet as the inspiration for the character. With Steig’s passing in 2003, any potential confirmation of this connection remains elusive.

Born in 1907, Steig would have been in his formative years during Maurice Tillet’s wrestling heyday in the 1940s.

As Tillet rose to prominence in the ring, Steig would have been in his thirties, potentially exposed to his performances and persona.


The striking resemblance between Shrek and Maurice Tillet is evident. Like the animated character, Tillet, also known as The French Angel, possessed an unusually proportioned upper body.

Despite standing at a height of only 5 feet and 9 inches, his massive upper body made him appear taller than his actual stature.

Into his late teens, Maurice’s physical attributes noticeably changed, including an enlarged head, hands, feet and chest and by his late teens, he was diagnosed with Acromegaly.

Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that develops when your pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone and Maurice did not grow in height; instead, he experienced an enlargement of features with his bones increasing in size while his organs began to swell. He’s listed at just shy of 5’9’’ and weighing 270 pounds.

Maurice spent the later years of his career living with his manager Karl Pojella and Karl’s wife, Olga and due to his years of smoking, Karl developed lung cancer, while Maurice dealt with an enlarged heart directly related to Acromegaly.


Karl passed away on September 4, 1954. Olga wasn’t his wife as has been claimed online.

Similarities Between Shrek & Tillet

In addition to their physique, the similarities in their facial features are remarkable. Tillet sported a bald head and a prominent nose, reminiscent of Shrek.

Furthermore, his grin, characterized by identical cheekbones, bore a striking resemblance to the cartoon character. In many ways, Maurice Tillet could easily be envisioned as the human embodiment of Shrek.

Despite the undeniable physical resemblance between Maurice Tillet and Shrek, William Steig, the creator of the iconic character, never officially acknowledged Tillet as the inspiration.


For the unversed, Shrek made his debut on the big screen in 2001, but the character was conceptualized eleven years before the movie’s release. Shrek first appeared in William Steig’s book in 1990, when the creator was 83 years old.

Tillet, born in 1903 and passing away in 1954, was long gone before the creation of the Shrek character.

Despite this timeline disparity, many fans speculate that Steig may have drawn inspiration from the old-school wrestler when creating Shrek, a theory that resonates with numerous enthusiasts.

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