Neil Fingleton, a giant among men, died on 25 February and was inducted into the TallSlim Tees Tall of Fame, shortly thereafter. The Guinness Book of World Records also recognized Neil as the UK’s tallest man, measuring him at 7 ft 6 ¼ in. Neil’s life was altogether too short, as are the lives of many extremely tall people, but what made Neil so great?
The life of Neil began in Durham, England, 1980. When he was 16, he attended a basketball camp in Connecticut which led to him attending high school in the US. He lead his Massachusetts high school to a 22 and 4 season, claiming the Division I title. Success bred success and he earned a scholarship to the University of North Carolina. He eventually made it into the NBA, playing for the Austin Toros (later the San Antonio Spurs) for a short time. In 2007, he suffered an injury and retired, which led him to the next big thing: showbusiness.
Neil made in appearance in X-Men: First Class as a very tall bodyguard. Then he showed up in 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves as a samurai. In 2014 he took on perhaps his most famous role as Mag the Mighty, in the 4th season of Game of Thrones. He also turned up in Jupiter Ascending and Dr. Who, as The Fisher King.
His Game of Thrones character was a fearsome giant on the northern side of the great ice wall guarded by Lord Commander Jon Snow and the black-clad men of the Night’s Watch.
Playing the character was quite the ordeal. In an interview, he explained, “To create the costume, I had to have a full body cast.” He continued: “My call time for work was usually around 3, half 3 in the morning, to get ready for shooting at 9 or 10.”
Neil’s greatness didn’t stop with his achievements, he also had a great perspective on being tall.
He grew up tall, reaching 7ft by age 11. His family was also tall, with a sister at 6’3”, a brother at 6’8″, and even a great grandfather at 6’8″.
In regards to his height, he says “I have never been self conscious about my height. I am more conscious of going fat and bald so that should tell you. I never let my height play a negative part in my life. I always do what I want, some tall people may be restricted as they are constantly stared at or people ask the same questions over and over.”
He concludes by saying: “This is the only bad thing about being tall – the stupid remarks and questions. Other than that, being tall is great.”
Sounds like a man who would have liked a TallSlim Tee.