Mike Henry Biography

Mike Henry Biography on Monsters and Critics


"Mike Henry" (born August 15, 1936 in Los Angeles, California) is an American professional football player and actor. He is probably best known for his role as Tarzan in three movies of the 1960s: "Tarzan and the Valley of Gold" (1966), "Tarzan and the Great River" (1967), and "Tarzan and the Jungle Boy" (1968), and as a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1958-61) and the Los Angeles Rams (1962-64). Not to be confused with the current Sheriff of Logan County, Ohio, who has the same name and slightly resembles him.

Early life, Tarzan films

Henry attended Bell High School in California, where he starred on the football team and graduated in 1954. In his 1968 book, 'Tarzan of the Movies,' author Gabe Essoe said that Henry had a 'body by Michaelangelo' and wrote of him: ' ... even if his acting lacked motivation and confidence, he looked the part more than any of the Apemen, bar none.' Unlike past movie Tarzans, Henry did not shave his chest for this role, making him the first and virtually only hairy-chested Tarzan. (It's unclear whether Henry was asked to shave his chest and refused, or whether the producers simply liked him the way he was.) To emphasize his 'beefcake' appeal, Henry wore a skimpier-than-usual loincloth that always hung a few inches below his navel.

Lawsuit against Tarzan film producers

During production of "Tarzan and the Great River" (1967), a chimp bit Mike Henry on his jaw line, which took twenty stitches to sew up. Soon after, he became fevered from the bite, delaying filming for nearly two weeks. According to Essoe, Henry eventually turned down the role in the "Tarzan" TV series and sued the film's producers for negligence leading to the chimp bite and other unsafe working conditions.

Other film and television roles

Henry co-starred with John Wayne in two movies, "The Green Berets" and "Rio Lobo", as well as three movies with Charlton Heston, "Number One", "Skyjacked" and "Soylent Green". He appeared with Clint Walker and Vincent Price in a western titled "More Dead Than Alive". He also could be seen with Burt Reynolds in the original version of "The Longest Yard", and he portrayed dim-witted Junior in Reynolds' "Smokey and the Bandit" films of the late 1970s.

He unsuccessfully auditioned to play Batman/Bruce Wayne in the 1960s "Batman" television series.

In the 1970s he was seen in an episode of "M*A*S*H" as Donald Penobscot, suitor of Hot Lips Houlihan.

External links

(Mike Henry at Brian's Drive-In Theater)

(Bell High School Alumni Page for Mike Henry)

Related pages

Johnny Weissmuller


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Buster Crabbe

Lex Barker

Gordon Scott


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article about Mike Henry.

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