At just 6'9", Eugene Arceau was short for a giant, but still quite impressive-looking in his French military uniform. He was born in Brittany in 1896 to a family of all average-sized people, and began touring Europe at age 18, when he appeared in Madrid before King Alfonso. At the time, Arceau claimed to stand 8' tall and weigh 306 pounds, and said doctors predicted he would someday reach 9 feet. When not touring, he bred horses in Vendée, and was quite a skilled mathematician. His typical breakfast, he boasted, consisted of six eggs, a pound of ham, a pound of cheese, and half a gallon of coffee – and his dinner was three times that size. His suits were made from 14 yards of material and cost $200 apiece.

During World War I, Arceau took a break from performing to serve in the French Army. Rejected as an infantryman because he was too tall to stand in a trench, he was placed instead in the 45th Heavy Artillery, where he was wounded twice, gassed once, and awarded six medals. In August of 1920 he came to the United States with Russell Bros. Shows, an English company, aboard the ocean liner Olympic, where he had to sleep in the aisle because no berth could hold him. Another passenger on the same vessel was Gertie Mills, an allegedly 8'1" giantess from Guildford, Surrey, who also worked with Russell Bros.

Arceau's voyage to America came with an ulterior motive: to find himself a wife, as he was too shy to do so in the conventional manner. His only specifications: she must be gentle, attractive, and willing to learn French. His quest for a wife led him to sign on with Kennedy Shows in 1921. In every town, Arceau's arrival was prefaced by a newspaper notice calling for any single woman willing to marry a giant. The Royal Midgets were on hand to witness the wedding, should anyone accept his offer. He was, however, still single when he joined T.A. Wolfe shows the following season.

Arceau’s American career was short-lived; it appears he returned to France after the 1922 carnival season, still a bachelor.

Created 2.18.09.