Johnny Weissmuller

Johnny Weissmuller

Age
79 (passed away Jan. 20th, 1984)
Birthday
Jun. 2nd, 1904
Born in
Freidorf, Banat, Austria-Hungary (now Romania)
Height
6' 3"

Johnny Weissmuller's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Jungle Jim TV Show
Jungle Jim
 

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]



BIOGRAPHY:

Johnny Weissmuller was born in Timisoara, Romania, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, though he would later claim to have been born in Windber, Pennsylvania, probably to ensure his eligibility to compete as part of the US Olympic team.

A sickly child, he took up swimming on the advice of a doctor. He grew to be a 6' 3", 190-pound champion athlete - undefeated winner of five Olympic gold medals, 67 world and 52 national titles, holder of every freestyle record from 100 yards to the half-mile. In his first picture, Glorifying the American Girl (1929), he appeared as an Adonis clad only in a fig leaf. After great success with a jungle movie, MGM head Louis B. Mayer, via Irving Thalberg, optioned two of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan stories. Cyril Hume, working on the adaptation of Tarzan the Ape Man (1932), noticed Weissmuller swimming in the pool at his hotel and suggested him for the part of Tarzan. Weissmuller was under contract to BVD to model underwear and swimsuits; MGM got him released by agreeing to pose many of its female stars in BVD swimsuits. The studio billed him as "the only man in Hollywood who's natural in the flesh and can act without clothes". The film was an immediate box-office and critical hit. Seeing that he was wildly popular with girls, the studio told him to divorce his wife and paid her $10,000 to agree to it. After 1942, however, MGM had used up its options; it dropped the Tarzan series and Weissmuller, too. He then moved to RKO and made six more Tarzans. After that he made 16 Jungle Jim (1948) programmers for Columbia. He retired from movies to run private business in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


TRIVIA:
  • In the late 1950s after retiring from acting, Weissmuller moved back to Chicago and started a swimming pool company. He also lent his name to other business ventures, but did not have a great deal of success. He retired in 1965 and moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he was Founding Chairman of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
  • Had three children with Beryl: 'Johnny Weissmuller Jr.' (qv), Heidi Elizabeth Weissmuller and Wendy Anne Weissmuller.
  • In 1974, he broke a hip and leg. While hospitalized he learned that, in spite of his strength and lifelong daily regimen of swimming and exercise, he had a serious heart condition.
  • Inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, 1983 (charter member).
  • Born at 6:30pm-LMT
  • After school, he worked as a bellhop and elevator operator at the Plaza Hotel in Chicago and trained for the Olympics with a swim coach at the Illinois Athletic Club, where he developed his revolutionary high-riding front crawl. He made his amateur debut on August 6, 1921, winning his first AAU race in the 50-yard freestyle.
  • He was the first speaking Tarzan and he died in January 1984, the month after the last surviving silent Tarzan, 'James Pierce (I)' (qv), died.
  • Appears on sleeve of 'The Beatles' (qv)' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".


Related sites for this celeb
» IMDB
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