It’s Johnny Weissmuller’s birthday today, way back in 1904. He was an Olympic champion in swimming with five gold medals, and a record contender in matrimony as well, marrying five times. Some things just come to certain people in handfuls.
And he played Tarzan, the original male bimbo.
I love these quotes in the New York Times obituary from 1984. In the first one he’s marveling at his good fortune to land the perfect job for a good looking, phenomenal swimmer who wasn’t very chatty to begin with.
‘It was like stealing,” he said. ”There was swimming in it, and I didn’t have much to say. How can a guy climb trees, say ‘Me Tarzan, you Jane,’ and make a million?”
And this, regarding his dance with fame:
”The public forgives my acting because they know I was an athlete,” he said on another occasion. ”They know I wasn’t make-believe.”
I’m guessing Weissmuller would be a reality TV star today. He was well built, amorous and carefree. And he got along OK with animals, which will always make you popular with the American public. In fact, people would approach him in public and request that he perform his character’s victory cry – the Tarzan Yell. Imagine being out to dinner and having to deal with an endless string of strangers asking to hear this:
Really, it’s no wonder he was divorced by four of his wives.
Tarzan was raised by apes. If you could choose to join a family of animals ….? (Please, NOT baboons!)