Billy Leon McCrary (1946-79) and Benny Loyd McCrary (1946-2001) were larger-than-life characters who refused to allow their record-breaking bulk to weigh down their remarkably active lifestyles.
Guinness World Records confirmed the McCrarys as the world's heaviest twins in November 1978. Billy tipped the scales at 337 kg (743 lb) and Benny weighed in at 328 kg (723 lb). Each had a waist measuring 213 cm (84 in).
On 7 December 1946, the twins were born prematurely at a reported 5 lb (2.2 kg) apiece. In an interview with Inside Wrestling magazine in 1998, Benny confirmed that he and his brother started to pile on the pounds from the age of four, after a nasty bout of German measles had damaged their pituitary glands - the hormone-producing gland that controls a human's rate of growth. By the age of 10, their weight had ballooned to 200 lb (90.7 kg), and at high school they had reached 600 lb (272 kg).
Despite their eye-catching bulk, the McCrarys lived surprisingly active lives. Both were married ("We've always had a way with the ladies," admitted Benny to People magazine), drove custom-built vehicles, were able to fly (albeit after booking two seats each), appeared on The Tonight Show and enjoyed swimming. "We can't drown," said Benny. "We pop right up like a cork." In more recent times, they even insisted that their diet consisted of normal-sized meals.
Adopting the professional name the McGuire Twins due to the fact that foreign ring announcers had difficulty pronouncing "McCrary", Billy and Benny were wrestling and carnival stunt show celebrities long before they had a Guinness World Records title bestowed on them. In the 1970s, as undefeated tag-team wrestlers managed by Canada's George "Crybaby" Cannon, the McGuires graced several promotions, including the National Wrestling Alliance and New Japan Pro Wrestling. They wowed excitable grapple fans the world over with their bone-crushing finishing move, known as the "Tupelo Splash", which saw one twin land belly-first on a stricken opponent. Another crowd-pleaser was the "Steamroller", a move that has been likened to flattening dough with a rolling pin, with a prostrate opponent starring as the dough. The "Steamroller" was invariably rolled out after a "Tupelo Splash".
Never ones to take themselves too seriously in or out of the ring, Billy once said of their career in wrestling: "Let's face it. We're making the best of a bad situation."
The Hendersonville twins were also keen bikers, and during a 3,000-mi (4,828-km) mini-bike road trip between New York and Los Angeles as part of a Honda promotion they stopped off in El Paso, Texas, where they met wrestling coach Gory Guerrero, father of the famed WCW and WWE champion Eddie Guerrero. Under Gory's guidance, the McGuires were transformed into international ring superstars.
Sadly, their media-luring exploits on two wheels eventually proved to be Billy's downfall. In July 1979, aged 32, he died from injuries sustained during a mini-bike stunt at Niagara Falls on his way to Ripley's iconic Believe It or Not! Museum in Ontario, Canada. Benny would survive his brother by almost 22 years, in which time he was able to prolong his wrestling career, occasionally teaming up with the legendary Andre the Giant. He succumbed to heart failure in 2001 at the age of 54.
The brothers are buried side by side at Crab Creek Baptist Church Cemetery near Hendersonville, where a 13-ft-wide (3.9-m) headstone (reputedly the world's largest granite gravestone), complete with depictions of Honda motorcycles, proclaims them as "world record holders" and "the world's largest twins". The inscription on Billy's headstone reads: "A big man with a big heart, loved around the world, with a legend as big as the mountains around him."