Sandy Allen

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On the Wildwood New Jersey boardwalk in 1978

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

Allen wrote a book, Cast A Giant Shadow, and appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records since 1976. Although over the years other women have taken over the title, Allen had held it for the last sixteen years of her life. Her height was due to a tumor in her pituitary gland that caused it to release growth hormone uncontrollably. At the age of twenty-two years, she underwent surgery for the condition. Lacking this procedure, Allen would have continued to grow and suffer further medical problems associated with gigantism.[citation needed]

She appeared in the Academy Award-winning Italian film Il Casanova di Federico Fellini, in a TV movie called Side Show, and in a Canadian/American documentary film called Being Different. 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.[3]

In later years Allen used a wheelchair because her legs and back could not support her tall stature in a standing position. At one point in her life, 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 record holder of oldest living human at the time, who actually survived Allen for a few months.[4]

The Indianapolis Star reported that Allen's friend and caretaker, Linda Fox, as saying that Allen had been suffering from kidney failure (due to diabetic complication) and blood infections; Allen died on August 13, 2008. A scholarship has since been dedicated in her name at Shelbyville High School.[3]


  1. ^ "World's Tallest Woman Dies at 53". ABC News. August 14, 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Swaminathan, Nikhil. "What causes gigantism?". Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  3. ^ a b World's tallest woman, Sandy Allen, dies,; accessed June 28, 2017.
  4. ^

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Preceded by
Zeng Jinlian
Tallest Recognized Woman
Succeeded by
Yao Defen