Maurice Tillet

On Saturday I encountered the life-sized bust of Maurice Tillet in the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago, Illinois. This was completed by Louis Linck in 1950, and shows the effect of the acromegaly that Tillet developed in his 20s. According to the museum tag, “Tillet’s body and his face in particular were disfigured significantly. With his new body, Tillet, an educated man and a lover of the fine arts, felt like a monstrosity. Unable to face a life of constant gawking and humiliation, he decided to make drastic changes and use his condition to his benefit. In the 1930s, he left France to become a professional wrestler first in England and later in America. He crafted his new wrestling persona as the rough, villainous “French Angel,” marketing his disfigured appearance and achieving acclaim as the biggest wrestling star of the early 1940s. Despite his successful wrestling career, Tillet lived his life as a recluse. He died from heart disease, a common complication of acromegaly.”

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Bust of Maurice Tillet by Louis Linck in the International Museum of Surgical Science.

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