Posts Tagged ‘johnny weismuller’

Who is Cheeta?…

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

FILM HISTORY

Just who is Cheeta the chimp, anyway?

 

 

Cheeta

 

Marilyn Chung / The Desert Sun
Cheeta sips soda at a 75th birthday held in April 2007. An author who researched the ape believes he is considerably younger

 

The story is that the ape starred with Weissmuller in Tarzan flicks and Reagan in ‘Bonzo’ and is retired at age 76 in Palm Springs. But an author’s research led him to far different conclusions.

 

By Scott Gold
Los Angeles Times
February 13, 2009

 

The story does not begin in Hollywood, where it’s possible, though by no means certain, that Cheeta became famous. It does not begin in Palm Springs, where Cheeta lives like so many other retirees, soaking in sunshine, bickering with relatives and, on occasion, treating himself to a drive-through hamburger despite his diabetes and advancing age.    (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)

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Olympians Who Became Stars…

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

OLYMPICS SPECIAL

 

Many of the Olympic athletes and medal winners over the past 112 years have become household names including Jim Thorpe, Jesse Owens, Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), Joe Frazier, Mark Spitz, Peggy Fleming and Bruce Jenner, just to name a few. However, only a handful have gone on to successful film careers. Following are five Olympic medalists who also made a name for themselves on screen:

 

 

 Johnny Weismuller

 

 

 

  

Olympic Medal record

Men’s swimming

Gold

1924 Paris

100 m freestyle

 

Gold

1924 Paris

400 m freestyle

 

Gold

1924 Paris

4×200 m freestyle relay

 

Gold

1928 Amsterdam

100 m freestyle

 

Gold

1928 Amsterdam

4×200 m freestyle relay

 

Men’s water polo

Bronze

1924 Paris

Team

 

  

JOHNNY WEISMULLER (June 2, 1904, Freidorf, Banat, Austria-Hungary (now Romania) — January 20, 1984, Acapulco, Mexico).

 

He won five gold medals as a swimmer at the 1924 and 1928 Olympics, setting many free-style records. Weissmuller appeared in several sports shorts, then was hired by MGM to play Tarzan onscreen. Beginning in 1932, he starred in 12 Tarzan adventures, meanwhile doing almost no other film work. In the late ’40s he quit Tarzan and began starring in a new series, Jungle Jim, while occasionally appearing in other films through the mid ’50s, after which he retired from acting. He was married six times. His stormy marriage to actress Lupe Velez (1933-38) received much coverage in scandal sheets. He authored an autobiography, Water, World and Weissmuller (1967). ~ All Movie Guide 

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 Sonja Henie

 

 

 

   

Olympic Medal record

Ladies Figure skating

Gold

1928 St. Moritz

Singles

Gold

1932 Lake Placid

Singles

Gold

1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Singles

 

SONJA HENIE (April 8, 1912, Kristiania (Oslo), Norway — October 12, 1969, en route by air to Oslo, Norway)

 

Upon receiving a pair of skates for her sixth birthday, Norwegian entertainer Sonja Henie decided to forego a dancing career for a life on the ice. To refine her technique, Henie continued taking ballet lessons, at one point studying with a former teacher of Anna Pavlova. She won the first of her ten World Skating titles in Oslo at age 14; she went on to win honors at the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics. In 1936 she turned professional, touring the world in her own ice show. Thus, Henie was already a very wealthy woman when she was signed to a Hollywood contract at 20th Century-Fox. From her American film debut in One in a Million (1936) onward, Henie was one of Fox’s biggest box-office attractions. Her film career waned in the late 1940s, but Henie retained her popularity through her sellout appearances with the Hollywood Ice Capades and via sporadic television appearances. In 1960, Sonja Henie retired, a millionaire many times over; nine years later, she died of leukemia while flying on an ambulance plane from Paris to Oslo. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

  

 

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 Buster Crabbe

 

 

 

  

Olympic medal record

Men’s swimming

Gold

1932 Los Angeles

400 m freestyle

Bronze

1928 Amsterdam

1500 m freestyle

 

BUSTER CRABBE (February 17, 1907, Oakland, California — April 23, 1983, Scottsdale, Arizona) 

  

Athletic actor Buster Crabbe, born Clarence Crabbe, grew up in Hawaii where he developed into a first-rate swimmer and athlete, going on to win the gold medal in 400-meter swimming at the 1932 Olympics (he broke the record held by another actor-athlete, Johnny Weissmuller). After the Olympics he found work in Hollywood playing Tarzan, branching out from this character to eventually play Flash Gordon, Billy the Kid, and Buck Rogers, among other action heroes. He became enormously popular with young audiences for his appearances in many serials and action flicks of the ’30s and ’40s, and ultimately starred in over 100 films. He also made westerns (in the ’40s he was teamed with sidekick Al “Fuzzy” St. John), and was on the list of Top Ten Western Stars at the box office in 1936. Crabbe went on to star in the ’50s TV series Captain Gallant, which also featured his son Cullen “Cuffy” Crabbe. He considerably slowed down his acting output in the ’50s and ’60s, becoming the athletic director for a resort hotel in the Catskills and investing in the swimming pool business. He also authored ~Energetics, a book on physical fitness for people over 50. Crabbe later returned to the screen once, for a large role in The Alien Dead (1980). ~ All Movie Guide

 

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 Herman Brix (Bruce Bennett)

 

 

 

   

Olympic medal record

Men’s Athletics

Silver

1928 Amsterdam

Shot put

 

HERMAN BRIX / BRUCE BENNETT (May 19, 1906, Tacoma, Washington — February 24, 2007, Santa Monica, California)

  

When Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs set about to produce his own talking pictures based on his jungle-man creation, he decided to emulate the example of the MGM Tarzan pictures, which starred Olympic champion Johnny Weissmuller. Using the 1932 Olympics as his talent pool, Burroughs selected shot-put champ Herman Brix, who’d already played a few bits in such films as Student Tour (1934) and Death on the Diamond (1934). Brix was quickly dispatched to Guatemala to film the 12-chapter serial The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935). In 1937, Brix took some time off to learn the rudiments of acting, then re-emerged on screen in 1938 with a new name: Bruce Bennett. His parts increased in size and importance when he moved to Warner Bros. in 1945; here he was assigned such choice roles as Joan Crawford’s ex-husband in Mildred Pierce (1945) and the lone prospector who is killed off in the middle of Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948). A ubiquitous second lead and character actor throughout the 1950s, Bruce Bennett left films in the early 1960s to make a bundle in real estate, briefly returning before the cameras in 1972. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

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 Duke Kahanamoku

 

 

 

 

Olympic Medal record

Men’s swimming

Gold

1912 Stockholm

100 m freestyle

Gold

1920 Antwerp

100 m freestyle

Gold

1920 Antwerp

4×200 m freestyle relay

Silver

1912 Stockholm

4×200 m freestyle relay

Silver

1924 Paris

100 m freestyle

 

DUKE KAHANAMOKU (August 24, 1890, Honolulu, Kingdon of Hawaii — January 22, 1968, Honolulu, Hawaii)

 

The winner of the 100-meter freestyle swimming event at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, Hawaiian star athlete Duke Kahanamoku repeated that feat at the games at Antwerp, Belgium, six years later, finishing second to Johnny Weissmuller at the 1924 Paris Olympics. Kahanamoku attempted to cash in on his fame by appearing in such Hollywood potboilers as Lord Jim (1926) and the Mascot serial The Isle of Sunken Gold (1927), but screen producers saw him mostly as an exotic villain or the odd South Seas Island native and true stardom eluded him. Better known perhaps for his surfing ability, Kahanamoku continued to make screen appearances through John Ford’s Mister Roberts (1955), in which he once again played a Native chief. His death in 1968 was attributed to a heart attack. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, All Movie Guide

 

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