Mike Lanier, aka the Gentle Giant, has passed away. He was 48-years old. At 7'7" tall, he and his twin brother are in the Guinness Book of World Records for the tallest twins and that record led to him getting the part of the "Giant Man" in 2014's supernatural horror film It Follows. Outside of horror fans, Lanier was better known for his stint playing college basketball for UCLA in the early 1990s where he played 19 games. He also got his degree in Sociology from the prestigious school during that time.
Mike Lanier was born on Nov. 27th, 1969. He died this week due to complications from pancreatic cancer and acromegaly, which is a condition where too much growth hormone is produced. Lanier was obviously well aware of his height. In an interview with GQ from 2015, he likened his life to the movie Groundhog Day. He explains.
"Every day, I walk outside my door, and the first person I see says, Whoa! How tall are you? I tell them, 7-foot-7. I turn around, take five more steps, and the next person says, Dude! You're tall! How tall are you? Over and over and over and over. It never stops."
Though Mike Lanier's height was an issue, it also brought great opportunities as well. There was the aforementioned college basketball career in the early 1990s and then the chance to play the "Giant Man" in 2014's It Follows. Lanier admits that he wasn't even given a script. Instead, he was told to be as intimidating as he could without changing expressions and to have that "serious I'm-gonna-get-you look." He even noted that they didn't have the special effects makeup for him, so they just used female makeup to make sure Lanier was as creepy as possible for his chase scene.
It Follows boosted Mike Lanier's popularity, especially in Michigan where he lived and worked for General Motors. When asked if there were any other roles that he would like to take on in the future, Lanier revealed that he wanted to get in on the Star Wars franchise. However, it's not the role that you're thinking of. Lanier had this to say.
"Yeah, for sure! I've got a real love for sci-fi. I've always told people I want to be in one of the Star Wars movies. I'll be the first 7-foot, 7-inch Jedi."
While there were many ups and downs of being 7'7" tall, Mike Lanier made the most of his life. While being that tall brought a lot of unwanted attention, it also brought some cool surprises when meeting celebrities. Most of the time, celebrities would seek him out to take a picture with him. He noted that Ron Wood from the Rolling Stones, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wolfgang Puck, and boxer Evander Holyfield as being some of his standout encounters. For a more in-depth look at the life of Mike Lanier, head over to Bruins Nation for a nice tribute. Rest in Peace, Mike Lanier.