Is Shrek Really Inspired By Russian-French Wrestler Maurice Tillet? Exploring Viral Rumor

A rumor has been circulating on the internet that the character Shrek has drawn inspiration from Russian-French wrestler Maurice Tillet. Explore the truth below.

Published on Jun 03, 2024  |  04:31 PM IST |  50.1K
Image Credit: Picryl
Maurice Tillet
Key Highlight
  • The uncanny physical resemblance 
  • The time of the creation of Shrek has led to this speculation 

Maurice Tiller was a distinguished name in professional wrestling in the 1940s.  Popularly known as the French Angel in the squared circle, he is widely believed to have influenced the making of the Shrek character for the uncanny resemblance. 


However, William Steig, the creator of Shrek, never acknowledged Maurice Tiller as the inspiration for the character. Considering he passed away in 2003, there is no way to verify it now. 


Steig was born in 1907. Therefore, he grew up watching Maurice Tiller wrestling in the 1940s. The creator of Shrek was in his 30s when the Russian-French professional wrestler was in the prime of his career. 

The uncanny physical resemblance 


The physical similarity between  Shrek and Maurice Tiller is undeniable. Similar to the cartoon character, The French Angel had an oddly proportional upper body

Even though he stood at only five feet and nine inches, he appeared taller than his original height due to his massive upper body.


Apart from the body, the resemblance in their facial structures is astounding. Tiller had a bald head and a large nose like Shrek. Similarly, the wrestler's grin looked too familiar to the cartoon character with identical cheekbones. Maurice Tiller could have passed as the human version of Shrek.


The time of the creation of Shrek has led to this speculation 


Shrek hit the big screen in 2001, but the character was created eleven years before the release of the movie. The green Ogre made his first appearance in the book in 1990 when the creator, William Steig, was 83 years old. 



Maurice Tillet was born in 1903 and died in 1954. His demise happened long before the Shrek character came into existence. There is a good chance that Steig drew Shrek keeping the old-school wrestler in mind, and many fans concur with this theory. 


Maurice Tiller wrestled in AWA


In the 1940s, WWE didn't exist. Maurice rose to fame in the American Wrestling Association or AWA, winning the World Heavyweight Championship on two occasions.  


He was adept in fourteen languages and had a knack for chess besides professional wrestling. He was born to a French family in Russia.


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About The Author

An English graduate with love and devotion for the art of professional wrestling, Avik has been a passionate



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