Johann Petursson

Johann Petursson was billed as "the Icelandic Giant" and claimed a height of 8' 8". Early in his career he dressed the part of the dandy in top hat, waistcoat and tails - but in later years he took to wearing the Viking costume pictured here.

Petursson was born in Dalvik, Iceland in 1913. He began exhibiting himself in Europe, and spent the duration of the second World War trapped in Copenhagen, Denmark. In 1948, Petursson emigrated to America, where he initially appeared with Ringling Brothers. In 1950, Johann appeared in a campy B-movie called Prehistoric Women. At some point during the 1960's Petursson retired to Gibsonton, Florida, but showman (and neighbor) Ward Hall was able to coax him to work for him one last time in 1973 for a Smithsonian event in Washington, D.C. Petursson passed away in 1984 - having achieved quite a respectable age for a giant.

He was featured in films and magazines, and appeared with every major circus and carnival until he retired. This photo came from his widow after his death about ten years ago. He passed away in 1984.

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