Billy and Benny McCrary

Billy Leon McCrary (1946-79) and Benny Loyd McCrary (1946-2001) were two of the most iconic record holders to ever exist.

Billy tipped the scales at 743 lb (337 kg) and Benny weighed 723 lb (328 kg), making them the world’s heaviest twins.

The pair were born prematurely on 7 December 1946, weighing an unremarkable 5 lb (2.2 kg) each. However, from the age of four, they started piling on the pounds.

Their extraordinary weight gain was not caused by overeating though; it began after they contracted rubella, damaging their pituitary glands – the part of the brain that regulates growth.

The twins’ parents sought to resolve the problem by buying and moving to a farm, hoping the increased physical activity would halt their children’s weight gain. They also put the twins on a strict diet of 1,000 calories per day, however, Billy and Benny kept getting heavier.

Even as adults, Billy revealed that he and his brother ate no more than the average person. “People think we eat all the time,” he told Greensboro News and Record in 1976. “But I’ll usually have two eggs and some bacon and toast and a glass of juice. Then in the afternoon, I’ll have a sandwich or something, and at night we eat a normal size dinner.”

McCrary Twins

By the age of 10, the twins each weighed 200 lb (90 kg), and after dropping out of high school aged 16, they weighed around 500 lb (226 kg).

They continued working on their father’s farm, using minibikes to complete their chores.

Although Billy and Benny’s parents were opposed to them making a spectacle of themselves, the twins decided that they would make the most of their situation by becoming performers.

“Let’s face it, what other kind of work could we do?” Billy said.

They got their start in show business after riding their bikes in a parade in their hometown of Hendersonville, North Carolina, where they were spotted and asked to make appearances at motorcycle shops around the state.

It was during one of these trips, in Greensboro, where a Daily News photographer named John Page took a picture of them, which later ended up being published in Life magazine.

Billy and Benny began receiving various show business offers, and within a few weeks they were performing a night club act in a Las Vegas casino. They played the trumpet, told jokes, and appeared on stage alongside a 400 lb go-go dancer named TeeVee Mama.

It was around this time that the twins were featured in Guinness Book of Records 1970, propelling them to international fame.

The twins made their professional wrestling debuts a year later, in 1971.

The opportunity came about during a road trip they were taking from New York to Los Angeles as part of a publicity promotion for Honda. While stopping off in El Paso, Texas, Billy and Benny met Gory Guerreiro, father of the famed WWE champion Eddie Guerrero.

Gory offered to train the twins after they finished their road trip, and the twins took him up on this.

“Of course, we didn’t take bumps like the average wrestler,” Benny told Inside Wrestling magazine in 1998. “So he worked out a routine for us. Guys run against us and fall down. They come in and try to give us a body slam, we turn around and give them one.”

Aged 25, they made their in-ring debuts, and despite losing their first match, they went on to enjoy successful careers, wrestling all around the world.

Managed by Canada's George "Crybaby" Cannon, the twins wrestled in several notable promotions, including the National Wrestling Alliance and New Japan Pro Wrestling.

In Japan, they changed their stage name to “The McGuire Twins” as Japanese ring announcers had difficulty pronouncing “McCrary”.

Promoters typically pitted up to 12 other wrestlers against the twins, and the twins always won.

They entertained crowds with finishing moves such as the “Tupelo Splash” – which involved one twin landing belly-first on a downed opponent – and “The Steamroller”, whereby one twin would roll back and forth over their opponent. They also had a tag-team move called the “McGuire Sandwich”, which involved crushing their opponent between their two bodies.

Benny and Billy wrestled in Japan from 1974 to 1978, travelling there three times per year. They also continued performing in the USA, in addition to various European countries.

Despite enjoying their travels around the world, flying on aeroplanes posed difficulties for Billy and Benny. They each occupied two seats, meaning they were required to purchase two tickets each.

Additionally, they were unable to use the toilet because they couldn’t fit inside, causing them great strain on long-haul flights.

Billy always travelled with his wife, Danielle, whom he met in Montreal. Benny was married to Danielle’s sister, Maryse, however, they separated during the early ‘70s. Benny remarried in 1977 to amateur wrestler Tammie Alley, to whom he remained wedded for the rest of his life.

The twins took a break from wrestling in 1976 after Billy caught a severe case of pneumonia, developing a blood clot in his lung which hospitalized him for several weeks.

After he recovered, Billy and Benny decided to take up their minibikes once more, devising several stunts they could perform publicly.

Although they resumed wrestling, they also continued performing their minibike act, which would ultimately prove to be Billy’s downfall.

In July 1979, aged 32, he died after sustaining injuries during a botched stunt in Niagara Falls, Canada.

Following Billy’s death, Benny tried to continue wrestling, partnering with Andre the Giant, but he was unsuccessful without his brother.

He retired from show business to open a pawn shop and work as an auctioneer in his hometown, before later moving to Walkertown, North Carolina, where he worked for the Christian Golfers’ Ministry.

Benny eventually became bedridden when the cartilage in his knee wore out, and he succumbed to heart failure in 2001, aged 54.

Benny and Billy are buried side by side at Crab Creek Baptist Church Cemetery near Hendersonville. Their 13-ft-wide (3.9-m) headstone, complete with depictions of Honda motorcycles, is inscribed “The world's largest twins".

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