The life and times of late giant American actor Matthew McGrory

Born 17 May 1973, late American actor Matthew McGrory was a Guinness World Record holder who died in 2005 at 32. Matthew held the Guinness World Record for tallest actor and portrayed physically imposing characters throughout his career. He also held the Guinness World Records for biggest feet and the longest toe. A native of Pennsylvania, McGrory’s unusual height brought him attention quite early in his life, both wanted and otherwise.

In the initial days of his entertainment career, he was featured on The Howard Stern Show and Oprah Winfrey’s talk show. He then made his acting debut in 2001 in an episode of the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle. That same year, Matthew had his cinematic debut that year as well in the adventure comedy Bubble Boy.

His other major characters include Tiny Firefly in the horror films House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and The Devil’s Rejects (2005), and Karl, the Giant in the fantasy comedy-drama Big Fish (2003), the Tall Alien in Men in Black II, the Ogre in Charmed, the Giant in Carnivàle, and Hort Willows in ShadowBox. In August 2005, McGrory passed away of heart failure.

Every once in a while, nature, in its funny way, brings forth the strangest things. So was the case on that day in May 1973 when Matthew’s homemaker mom was delivered of him. He will grow up to become over 7ft tall, with feet almost impossible for any shoe to contain. Though he didn’t live so long, it can be said of him that he lived a meaningful life, and his contribution to the world of make-believe will remain ever relevant.

This article will shed more light on the life and times of the giant. Firstly, here are ten interesting facts about him.

10 facts about Matthew McGrory

  1. Matthew McGrory grew to an astonishing height of 7ft 6 inches (2.29 m) and was already over 5ft tall by the time he graduated kindergarten.
  2. He had roles in two Rob Zombie films, House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, and the latter was dedicated to his memory.
  3. McGrory’s large size led to appearances on The Howard Stern Show beginning in December 1996 as a member of Stern’s Wack Pack.
  4. He held the Guinness World Records title for the tallest actor, biggest feet and longest toe, a recognition that came after his death.
  5. It may come as a surprise that Matthew indeed had a girlfriend, her name is Melissa Davis, and she is not a giant like him. The two lived together till the time of his passing.
  6. He was cast in the music video for Iron Maiden’s 2000 song “The Wicker Man” and in 2003 for Blondie’s video of their hit song “Good Boys”.
  7. A rather sad fact about Matthew is that he was an only child. Thus, he grew up without siblings to play with and considering his unique features; this must have been a tough way to grow.
  8. McGrory was set to appear in the 2007 film Andre: Heart of The Giant, where he was going to portray the wrestler, Andre the Giant. He was, however, only able to film a few scenes before his death.
  9. His last project, the horror film The Evil Within, was released posthumously in 2017 and was dedicated to him.
  10. Matthew had a net worth of $3 million at the time of his death. His main source of income was acting.

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Early life and education

McGrory was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, to Maureen, a homemaker, and William McGrory, an accountant. He was an only child. He was over five feet (1.5 m) tall by the time he completed kindergarten. Matthew studied pre-law at Widener University. He also studied Criminal Justice at West Chester University. Not much is known about his childhood.


For a while, Matthew McGrory was employed as a bouncer at a bar in his hometown of West Chester. There, he met producer, writer, and director Bam Margera and the rest of the Viva La Bam crew. They subsequently became friends.

McGrory eventually caught the eye of Hollywood and thus began his journey into entertainment. He had an eventful career, which was cut short only by sudden death. Due to his unique features, he was usually typecast as a giant. In the ten active years in acting, he featured in a total of 14 projects, many of which did well commercially and critically.

Bigfoot on The Howard Stern Show

The Howard Stern Show is an American radio show hosted by Howard Stern that gained wide recognition in the 1980s. In addition to a radio broadcast, the show has been filmed since 1994 and broadcast on various networks, including the E! and CBS  television channels. It moved to HowardTV, Stern’s own on-demand digital cable channel, from 2005 to 2013. In 2018, SiriusXM launched the Howard 360 app for subscribers to access video clips of the show.

McGrory’s large size led to appearances on The Howard Stern Show beginning in December 1996 as a member of Stern’s Wack Pack. The Wack Pack is the name given to an assortment of personalities heard throughout the history of The Howard Stern Show. Members tend to be unusual in some way, such as being blatantly racist, mentally disabled, having a comical appearance, voice or ability. As of 2016, twenty-four living individuals are designated “Wack Packers” (along with a number of deceased people). Matthew appeared on several episodes in 1996 as a Wack Packer.

Big Fish giant — where was Big Fish filmed

Big Fish is a 2003 American fantasy comedy-drama film directed by Tim Burton. It is based on the 1998 novel of the same name by Daniel Wallace. The film tells the story of a frustrated son who tries to distinguish fact from fiction in his dying father’s life.

Filming started in January 2003 as against the initial plan for October of the previous year. Apart from filming in Paris for one week in May, Big Fish was entirely shot in Alabama, mostly in Wetumpka and Montgomery. Brief filming also took place in Tallassee and on the campus of Huntingdon College. Scenes for the town of Spectre were filmed on a custom set located on Jackson Lake Island between Montgomery and Millbrook, Alabama, adjacent to the Alabama River.

Location filming in Alabama was delayed by inclement weather; during the Calloway circus scenes filming, a tornado watch was issued, and flooding on the set interrupted filming for several weeks. Despite the delays, Burton delivered the film on budget and on schedule. Scenes with Karl the Giant were commissioned using forced perspective filmmaking.

Matthew played the character Karl The Giant in the film, and his character was about eleven feet tall, whereas, in real life, Matthew was only a few inches over seven feet.

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Tiny in House of 1000 Corpses

House of 1000 Corpses is a 2003 American black comedy horror film written, co-scored, and directed by Rob Zombie in his directorial debut. The plot centres on a group of teenagers who are kidnapped and tortured by a psychotic family, during Halloween, after travelling across the country to write a book. Despite receiving an unfavourable response from critics, it grossed $16 million worldwide against a budget of $7 million.

Matthew portrayed the role of Tiny Firefly, the younger half-brother of Baby Firefly. Tiny suffers from gigantism and is scarred all over because the Professor doused him in lighter fluid and set him alight when he was a child. He also has a soft spot for women and won’t take advantage of a female captive when she is offered to him.

André the Giant movie

As earlier mentioned, McGrory was slated to feature in the 2007 film Andre: Heart of the Giant as André the Giant. In fact, he had started to shoot some scenes before death came knocking. The director Rokki James was a friend of McGrory. He stated that McGrory’s footage would be included in the credit sequence as a homage from the crew to him.

Other acting credits

Between 2003 and 2004, Matthew appeared in two episodes of the WB’s supernatural drama Charmed, playing the role of the Ogre. He had another recurring role, of the Giant, in HBO’s period drama, Carnivàle, appearing in three episodes of the show between 2003 and 2005. In 2004, he was cast as Toto in the action-comedy Planet of the Pitts.

He also appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s daytime talk show and in music videos, including Iron Maiden’s “The Wicker Man” and the 1999 Marilyn Manson “Coma White”. Matthew can also be seen in Blondie’s video for their 2003 hit “Good Boys.”

Personal life

Matthew McGrory wife

McGrory wasn’t exactly married in his lifetime. However, he was in a committed relationship with Melissa Davis till the time he passed. The two of them lived together in Sherman Oaks, California. Nothing has been heard of Melissa since Matthew’s passing.

Matthew and Melissa

Matthew McGrory shoe size

Giving his enormous size and height, people wonder what size of shoe Matthew wore. With a height of 7ft and 6 inches and a body weight of 144kg (317 lbs), Matthew was undoubtedly a giant. While there is no information about his clothe size, Matthew’s shoe size was 29.5 US which will be around 100 in EU. Unbelievable, isn’t it?

Matthew McGrory death

McGrory died at the early age of 32 in August 2005 from congestive heart failure. Following his death, the late actor made the Guinness World Records for having the biggest toes, longest feet and for being the tallest actor to ever walk the earth. The industry paid him a tribute by dedicating the film The Devil’s Rejects by Rob Zombie to his memory.

He was buried at the Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery, SpringfieldDelaware County, PennsylvaniaUSA.

Matthew McGrory net worth

Matthew McGrory was a millionaire. At the time of his death, he had a net worth to the tune of $3 million amassed through his professional acting career.


In other climes, Matthew’s unique stature would have been a disadvantage or deformity of some sort. In his case, however, it was the opposite. His extraordinary height was what brought him a career, fame and fortune. It is just unfortunate that his life ended so abruptly with so much potential left untapped. Without a doubt, his short life was both impactful and eventful.

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