Sandy Allen

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Sandy Allen
World's tallest woman, Sandy Allen, Boardwalk.jpg
Allen on the Wildwood New Jersey boardwalk in 1978
Sandra Elaine Allen

(1955-06-18)June 18, 1955
DiedAugust 13, 2008(2008-08-13) (aged 53)
Known forFormer tallest woman in the world
Height7 ft 7 in (231 cm)

Sandra Elaine Allen (June 18, 1955 – August 13, 2008) was an American woman recognized by the Guinness World Records as the tallest woman in the world.[1][2] She was 7 feet 7 inches (231 cm) tall.[2]

Allen wrote a book, Cast a Giant Shadow. Although over the years other women have taken the title of the tallest woman, Allen held it for the last sixteen years of her life.[2][3] Her height was due to a tumor in her pituitary gland that caused it to release growth hormone uncontrollably, between 200 and 1,000 times more than usual.[4] She grew up in Shelbyville, Indiana, and was raised by her grandmother, who worked as a cleaning woman.[4] At the age of 22, in 1977, she underwent surgery for the condition.[5] Lacking this procedure, Allen would have continued to grow and suffer further medical problems associated with gigantism.[2]

She appeared in Fellini's Casanova, in the TV movie Side Show, and in a Canadian/American documentary film, Being Different.[6] The New Zealand band Split Enz wrote a song about her, "Hello Sandy Allen", released on their 1982 album Time and Tide. Allen never married, saying that she was "an oldfashioned [sic] girl" and would not date a man shorter than her.[7][4]

In later years, Allen used a wheelchair because her legs and back could no longer support her tall stature while standing. At one point, she was bedridden due to disease, causing atrophy of the muscles. Due to this limitation, she spent her last years in Shelbyville, Indiana, in the same retirement center as Edna Parker, the oldest living human at the time.[8]

Allen died on August 13, 2008.[1][5] Her family friend, Rita Rose, revealed that she suffered from a recurring blood infection, along with Type 2 diabetes, breathing troubles, and kidney failure.[9]

A scholarship was dedicated in Allen's name at Shelbyville High School.[7] In 2020, Allen's friend and manager, John Kleiman, donated a collection of her memorabilia to Ripley's Museums.[3]


  1. ^ a b Martin, DeAnna (August 14, 2008). "World's Tallest Woman Dies in Indiana at Age 53". ABC News. Retrieved August 26, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b c d Swaminathan, Nikhil (August 14, 2008). "What causes gigantism?". Scientific American. Retrieved April 20, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ a b "World's tallest woman Sandy Allen memorabilia donated to Ripley museums". WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather | Indiana Traffic. January 5, 2020. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Bennetts, Leslie (August 7, 1978). "At 7 Foot 7, They Make the Best of a Burden". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "World's Tallest Woman Dies In Indiana". AP via CBS News. August 13, 2008. Retrieved April 20, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Tallest woman to attend showing". The Globe and Mail, October 27, 1981.
  7. ^ a b Jarosz, Francesca (April 15, 2011). "World's tallest woman, Sandy Allen, dies". The Indianapolis Star. Archived from the original on April 15, 2011. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  8. ^ "Tallest woman in the world taught children to accept differences". Los Angeles Times. August 14, 2008. Retrieved April 20, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "World's Tallest Woman Dies at 53". CBC News Canada. August 13, 2008. Retrieved April 20, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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Preceded by Tallest Recognized Woman
Succeeded by