A promotional photograph of Harold
Lloyd and John Aasen (Giant Colosso) from
Johann Aasen was born in
Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1890 and was of Norwegian heritage. He
was with the Al G. Barnes circus in 1923 but I'm not sure if he
trouped with any others. His ring states he was known as "The
Motion Picture Giant" because he appeared in a total of 7
movies, but only one was a talkie. A clip of him from the movie
"Why Worry" (a part originally intended for giant George Auger)
can be seen in Ari Roussimoff's documentary "Freaks Uncensored".
Unfortunately, John had mental health problems and was admitted
to the Mendocino (CA) State hospital in 1937. He passed away
there Aug 1st, 1938.
Thomas Prescott from
Ten Giants and their Rings
John Aasen (born March
5, 1890 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - died August
1, 1938 in Mendocino, California, United States) was one of the
tallest actors in history. His mother, Kristi Danielsen, was an
extremely tall Norwegian lady of around 2.20 m (almost 7 ft 3
inches) in height. It is not certain who his father was, because
his mother kept it a secret for her entire life. According to
some sources, his father was Nils Janson Bokke, a Swedish man of
around 2.44 m (8 feet) tall. When he was ten years old, John and
his mother moved from Ridgeway, Iowa to Sheyenne, North Dakota
with his two younger siblings.
When in Sheyenne, John's mother operated a restaurant. John
attended school and helped out in the family business. In 1902
John Aasen's mother passed away. He was taken in to many homes
and families . When a family he was staying with started to
operate a hotel in Leeds, North Dakota, he moved with them
John's growth started slowly. When he was confirmed in the
Lutheran faith in Grandfield Lutheran Church near Sheyenne,
North Dakota, he was the shortest in his class. According to
some sources, John was around 2.73 m (which, if true, would make
him taller than even Robert Wadlow).
In 1922, John was offered an acting job in a
film called Why Worry? (produced by Hal Roach and released in
1923) alongside the superstar comedian Harold Lloyd. Later, he
acted in several other films like Bengal Tiger, Charlie Chan at
the Circus, Growing Pains, Should Married Men Go Home?,
Legionnaires in Paris, Two Flaming Youths, The Sting of Stings,
and Long Fliv the King.
He died in August of 1938 in Mendocino,
According to the 1978 edition of Guinness Book of Records he was
only 7 ft (213cm).
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