EP History: Jack Earle, ‘The World’s Tallest Man’
Meet Jacob Reuben Erlich, better known as Jack Earle, or even better known as the World's Tallest Man.
Wondering just how he got the nickname "The World's Tallest Man?" That's quite simple. First, here are a couple photos of Jack Earle.
At 13-years-old, and 7 feet tall already, Earle went off to Los Angeles with his dad to pursue a career in acting. Over the next few years, he landed himself some roles in silent movies, including Hansel and Gretel in 1923, and Jack and the Beanstalk in 1924.
Earle's movie career came to an end after some scaffolding fell on him during filming and he was hospitalized with a broken nose. While in the hospital, his vision became blurry, and eventually lost all his site. A doctor was able to examine him and found a pituitary tumor that was causing the blindness. After some treatment he regained his site. Oh, and he was also up to 8 feet six inches tall at this point.
Earle ended up making his way to El Paso. While in the Sun City he graduated from UTEP, although it went by a different name at that time. Soon Ringling Bros. came to town and they were promoting what they considered to be their own version of The World's Tallest Man. When Earle met their version, Earle was taller. Ringling Bros. ended up offering Earle a one-year contract, which turned into a 15 year career traveling with Ringling Bros.
Eventually, Earle tired of life on the road and returned to California for a bit. But ultimately Earle would end up back in El Paso, until he passed away on July 18, 1952, at 46-years-old.
Jack Earle suffered from acromegalic gigantism, which led to his enormous height. You can even visit Earle's grave in El Paso, as he is buried in Concordia Cemetery. After he passed away, they had to commission a company in New Jersey to build a special casket for him, and they had to pay the grave digger overtime since the plot was so large.