Did André the Giant Play Bigfoot on TV?

And, is Bigfoot a robot?

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An image shows wrestler André the Giant portraying Bigfoot on the show "Six Million Dollar Man" in 1976.
Image via Wikipedia

Claim

A photograph shows wrestler André the Giant portraying Bigfoot on the show "Six Million Dollar Man" in 1976.

Origin

Though André René Roussimoff, better known as André the Giant, spent the majority of his career fighting battles in the ring for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), he also had some memorable movie roles. He appeared in an episode of “Zorro,” he played the friendly Fezzik in “The Princess Bride,” and, according to a popular internet photo, appeared as Bigfoot (or Sasquatch) in an episode of “The Six Million Dollar Man.” 

This is a genuine photo of André the Giant as Bigfoot and Lee Majors as Col. Steve Austin on the set of a 1976 episode of “The Six Million Dollar Man.” 

André appeared as Bigfoot in a two-part episode of “The Six Million Dollar Man” called “The Secret of Bigfoot.” Author Michael Krugman writes in his 2009 book “Andre the Giant: A Legendary Life” that this was the iconic wrestler’s acting debut:

It was inevitable that Hollywood would come a-calling. In early 1976 Andre made his acting debut on the hugely popular sci-fi series The Six Million Dollar Man. When the show decided to capitalize on the craze surrounding Sasquatch sightings, the creative team knew there was really only one man who could realistically portray the eight-foot-tall forest creature.

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[Director Kenneth] Johnson remembers Andre as being both reticent and respectful while filming the episodes. “He was a very shy, sweet guy. It was probably one of the first film things that he had ever done, so he was completely bewildered about the whole process. But he was also very , very friendly and anxious to please. When I met him at the trailer on the set and walked him out, there was a big of a look of a frightened puppy in his eyes, which is amusing when you think of the mass that the guy represents … You get stared at a lot when you’re that kind of guy, and I had a conversation with the cast and crew ahead of time to encourage them to be friendly and outgoing and make him as comfortable as he possibly could be, since it was his virgin effort in the film business.”

Hidden under prosthetic makeup and a fur-covered bodysuit, Andre battled seven-figure cyborg Steve Austin in a memorable fight scene that took advantage of the Giant’s grappling skills. While he might have yet lacked confidence as an actor, Andre was more than comfortable engaging in stage fisticuff with actor Lee Majors.

While the photo of André the Giant as Bigfoot is real, this version of Bigfoot on the “Six Million Dollar Man” wasn’t your average mythical beast. It’s revealed in the episode (45-year spoiler alert!) that the Bigfoot portrayed by André the Giant was actually a robot built by aliens. Majors’ character makes this discovery while grappling with the beast. Here’s a clip from this memorable moment:

This episode can be watched in its entirety on NBC