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French Angel (1903-1954)

Real NameMaurice Tillet
Lifespan10/23/1903 - 8/4/1954
5'8" 275 lbs. - Paris, France

Athletic BackgroundRugby

Teacher(s) - Karl Pojello

Professional Background

Aliases - Maurice Tillet, The Angel

Peak Years1939-1944

Place in HistoryWhen the French Angel hit America in 1940, he had been built up so much by Paul Bowser that he could not have succeeded due to his uniqueness. Amazingly, the gimmick wrestler from France proved to be one of Bowser’s biggest successes and he probably saved his in a time when the crowds were declining. Maurice Tillet’s early years are somewhat a mystery, but it is suffice to say that he ended up and ugly adult with freakly features that made a successful drawing card all over Europe. Under the guidance of Karl Pojello, Tillet learned how to work and the two maintained a very close friendship until their deaths. “The Neanderthal Man” as he called, quickly captured the AWA World Championship and held it for over a year and a half. Tillet traveled the country and was certainly a big attraction although pro-wrestling’s popularity was at a nadir. Part carnival freak and part horror movie villain, The French Angel was the perfect opponent for the countless handsome and popular babyfaces around the country. A gentle giant with natural athleticism, Tillet was popular amongst his peers and journalists who loved to do features on him when he came to town. During the War Years, perhaps only Bill Longson was a bigger star than the French Angel. In his mid-40s and afflicted by Acromegaly, Tillet was not able to capitalize of the TV boom that transformed pro-wrestling. He did make a name for himself and became the first gimmick wrestler to become a major box office attraction, but he was far from the last.