Last updated: Sunday, March 27, 2016

(1904 - 1984)

Johnny Weissmuller
International Swimming Hall of Fame

Johnny Weissmuller is best known for his role as Tarzan and he played the role in a total of 12 films. He created the distinctive Tarzan yodelling call, which is still used and often imitated. Before his successful Hollywood career Weissmuller was an accomplished international swimmer, winning five Olympic gold medals (three in Paris 1924 and two in Amsterdam 1928) and one bronze medal (Paris 1924) and set 67 world records during the 1920's. When he retired from amateur competition in 1929 he began work promoting swimwear for the BVD swimwear company, travelling round the country giving swimming exhibitions, appearing on radio talk shows and modelling the company's swimwear. It was a very beneficial contract financially for him and at the same time he made his movie debut portraying Adonis clad only in a fig leaf, in Glorifying the American Girl (1929), and in some movie shorts featuring Olympic champions, called Crystal Champions . One thing led to another and he landed in Hollywood where he was discovered and like they say, the rest is history. Following his career as Tazan Johnny went on to play Jungle Jim in 13 films (plus three Jungle Jim like movies where he played himself) and a short lived one season tv series of 26 episodes.

He reunited briefly with Maureen O'Sullivan in The Phynx in 1969 and he made one more cameo appearance in the movie, Won Ton Ton, the Dog That Saved Hollywood in 1976, before finally retiring from movies and tv for good.

Johnny Weissmuller and Bobbe Arnst Johnny Weissmuller and Lupe Vélez Johnny Weissmuller Beryl Scott Allene Gates Johnny Weismuller Johnny Weissmuller  & Maria Brock Mandell Bauman on German TV 1970s
Bobbe Arnst & Johnny
Lupe Vélez & Johnny
Beryl Scott & Johnny
Allene Gates & Johnny
Maria Brock Mandell Bauman & Johnny
In a stormy personal life Weissmuller was married five times: Singer/Actress, Bobbe Arnst (1931-1933); Actress, Lupe Vélez (1933-1939); Beryl Scott (1939-1948), three children: John Scott, Jr., Wendy Anne, and Heidi Elizabeth; Golfer, Allene Gates (1948-1962); Maria Brock Mandell Bauman (1963- his death).

In 1973 Weissmuller fractured his hip in a fall, the beginning of a series of health problems. He had multiple strokes in 1977 and he lived his last years quietly in Mexico with his wife, Maria.

Johnny Weissmuller died of pulmonary edema on January 20, 1984. He was 79. His funeral was at the Valley of the Light Cemetery in Acapulco, and, at his request, a recording of his famous Tarzan call was played three times.

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