Time – March 4, 1940
M. Maurice Tillet is an amiable Frenchman who recently journeyed to the U. S. to engage in wrestling bouts. His nickname is “The Angel.” Much excited by photographs of his monstrous head were four enterprising young anthropologists at Harvard, Carlton Stevens Coon, Hallam Leonard Movius Jr., Carl Coleman Seltzer and William Herbert Sheldon Jr. They wanted to measure it. Last week they announced that they had indeed taken the Angel’s measurements.
M. Tillet is the victim (or, as a wrestler, the beneficiary) of pituitary overdevelopment, resulting in acromegaly—enlargement of the face and jaws. The Harvardmen X-rayed his head, found the sella turcica, which houses the pituitary, considerably enlarged. They measured the tremendous, coffin-shaped face, found it 7.16 inches wide, 7.05 inches long from nose-bridge to jaw-point. They also noted huge protuberances over the eyebrows and at the back of the head, an elevation like a ridgepole from front to back of the cranium.
It seemed likely that pituitary excess set in after the Angel’s long bones had stopped growing, otherwise he might have been a giant. His overdevelopment is lateral. Though just under 5 ft. 10 in. tall, he weighs 276 Ibs. One investigator declared: “The collar bones and rib cage are the most massive I have ever seen. . . . The tremendous nuchal [back-of-the-neck] musculature is quite beyond anything I have ever conceived.”
The anthropologists found M. Tillet “intelligent, very appealing, kindly and gentle.” In short, they liked him. At an afternoon party, he refused sherry and cigarets, took tea and cookies. Like most French commoners, he has a profound respect for the learned professions. He asked Earnest Albert Hooton, famed bellwether of Harvard anthropology, for a signed photograph. Hooton complied, and received from the Angel an elegant letter of thanks, in French, with practically no spelling mistakes.
Last week, back in his garish world of grab-grunt-&-grimace, M. Tillet wrestled in Washington against one Alan Eustace. Five hundred would-be spectators were turned away from the small arena and, as usual, the Angel won, in 10 1⁄2 minutes.