John Aasen, born on March 5, 1890, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was an actor who left an indelible mark on the world of silent cinema, known for his towering height and gentle demeanor.
Standing at a staggering 7 feet 0.5 inches (214 cm), Aasen was one of the tallest actors in the history of film. His unique physical appearance made him a memorable presence on screen, and one of his notable roles was in the silent comedy “ Why Worry?” (1923).
Aasen’s remarkable height was the result of acromegaly, a rare medical condition caused by excess growth hormone. Despite the challenges that often accompanied his condition, Aasen embraced his uniqueness and embarked on a career in the entertainment industry.
In “ Why Worry?,” Aasen portrayed the character of the Sultan of Suluf, an island nation where the film’s comedic escapades take place. The film, directed by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor, stars Harold Lloyd as the lead character, Harold Van Pelham. Aasen’s role as the Sultan adds a delightful and comical dimension to the film, as his towering presence contrasts with the chaos that unfolds on the island.
“ Why Worry?” is known for its physical comedy and daring stunts, a hallmark of Harold Lloyd’s films. Aasen’s character, the Sultan, becomes entangled in the chaos, and his participation in the slapstick humor is a memorable part of the film. The contrast between his imposing stature and the film’s comedic elements creates numerous entertaining moments.
John Aasen’s acting career extended beyond “ Why Worry?” He appeared in several other films during the silent era, often cast in roles that capitalized on his height. His imposing presence and the ability to convey a range of emotions through his performances set him apart from other actors of his time.
In addition to his work in film, Aasen also participated in vaudeville shows, where his towering height made him a sought-after attraction. His gentle and amiable disposition endeared him to audiences, and he became known not only for his physical stature but also for his affable personality.
Tragically, Aasen’s life was cut short when he passed away at the age of 47 on August 1, 1938. His contributions to the world of entertainment, particularly in silent cinema, remain a part of film history. He is remembered for his role in “ Why Worry?” and for defying the limitations that might have been imposed by his extraordinary height.
John Aasen’s presence on screen added a unique and memorable quality to the films he appeared in, and his legacy endures as a testament to the diversity of talent in the silent film era. His portrayal of the Sultan in “ Why Worry?” and his overall impact on the entertainment industry continue to be celebrated by cinephiles and film historians alike.