Scaling the Heights

How tall are the actors you look up at on the big screen? Definitely not that big.


Meeting your heroes-be they Pulitzer prize winners, spiritual leaders or athletes--in real life is a risky business, even under the most guarded circumstances. There's all that extra room for disappointment. If your hero is an actor, shame on you to begin with, but that aside, you're in for an added rude shock. Not only is he unlikely to loom anywhere near as large on terra firma as he does in movieland-- you're very likely to find yourself looking down on him. We're not saying that all actors are shrimps, just that many of them are a lot shorter than you've been led to believe. After all, the stated heights of screen stars are not official numbers issued by the United States Office of Weights and Measures-- they come mostly from the stars' publicists. Hence, many actors, whom actresses seem to tower over on screen when both actor and actress are shown standing full-body next to each other (a shot generally avoided), claim to be 5'10"--the official height for actors who are probably 5'8"at best and know they'd be laughed at in public if they claimed to be six feet. Since it's very hard to get, say, Mel Gibson to stand still while you measure him, we can only guess the actual height of actors. But based on the observations of people who've stood next to them, we make our best guesses here.