President Franklin D. Roosevelt: Physical Description and Characteristics

About the physical description and behavior of President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt, his height, weight.


His Person: FDR was 6'2" tall and weighed about 190 lbs. Woodrow Wilson once described him as "the handsomest young giant I have ever seen." Roosevelt was always broad-shouldered, but after he lost the use of his legs he built up his arms and chest to prodigious strength. "Maybe my legs aren't so good," he once said, "but look at those shoulders! Jack Dempsey would be green with envy." While recovering from polio, he used to wrestle with his young sons on the floor, 2 at a time. Roosevelt had a high forehead, a roman nose, and was almost always smiling. Political opponents cited his unfailing optimism, good humor, and charm as evidence of a shallow, flabby nature. Roosevelt could even make light of his own affliction. During one of her visits to the White House, Madame Chiang Kai-shek thoughtlessly told the President not to stand up as she rose to leave the room. "My dear child," laughed Roosevelt, tossing his head back in a characteristic gesture, "I couldn't stand up if I had to!" Visitors to Washington social functions, no matter how large, could always find the President by following the sound of his booming laughter. Roosevelt was a steady, but never a problem, drinker, who generally enjoyed 2 or 3 cocktails a night. He was also a heavy smoker, and consumed 30 cigarettes a day despite doctor's orders to cut down. His long-stemmed cigarette holder, tilting upward from his toothy grin, became a Roosevelt trademark. Another trademark, the flowing black navy cape, had a practical justification: Aides found it extremely awkward to help the crippled President in and out of overcoats, and the cape greatly simplified matters. FDR's mellow, resonant voice, often described as "the best radio voice in the world," became a key political asset.

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