Sandra Elaine Allen, born on June 18, 1955, achieved worldwide recognition as the tallest woman according to Guinness World Records. She stood at an astounding height of 7 feet 7 inches, or 231 centimeters.
Allen authored a book titled “Cast a Giant Shadow.” While other women temporarily claimed the title of the tallest woman over the years, Allen held this distinction for the final sixteen years of her life. Her exceptional height was a result of a pituitary gland tumor that triggered the uncontrollable release of growth hormone, exceeding the normal production by a staggering 200 to 1,000 times. Sandra Allen’s upbringing was in Shelbyville, Indiana, under the care of her grandmother, who worked as a cleaning woman. In 1977, at the age of 22, she underwent surgery to address her medical condition. Without this procedure, her height would have continued to increase, leading to more health issues associated with gigantism.
Sandra Allen’s extraordinary presence extended to her appearances in Fellini’s “Casanova,” the TV movie “Side Show,” and a documentary film, “Being Different,” produced in both Canada and the United States. The New Zealand band Split Enz even dedicated a song to her titled “Hello Sandy Allen,” featured on their 1982 album “Time and Tide.” Allen, who never married, once mentioned her preference for dating men taller than her, describing herself as an “old-fashioned girl.”
In her later years, Allen relied on a wheelchair due to the strain on her legs and back when standing. At one point, she became bedridden, experiencing muscle atrophy as a result. These physical limitations led her to spend her final years in Shelbyville, Indiana, where she resided in the same retirement center as Edna Parker, who was the oldest living human at the time.
Sandra Allen passed away on August 13, 2008. Her family friend, Rita Rose, disclosed that she battled a recurring blood infection, Type 2 diabetes, breathing difficulties, and kidney failure.
To honor her memory, a scholarship was established in Sandra Allen’s name at Shelbyville High School. Additionally, in 2020, her friend and manager, John Kleiman, donated a collection of her memorabilia to Ripley’s Museums.
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