biography

Born Harold Herman Brix in Tacoma, Washington, on May 19, 1906, actor Bruce Bennett was born into a wealthy family. He first found fame at the 1928 Olympic games under his real name. He broke the world record for the shot-put on his first toss and won a silver medal in Amsterdam. His world record was short-lived, as a teammate broke his record minutes later. Prior to winning the silver, Bennett had been a track and football star at the University of Washington. He completed his college education after his success at the 1928 Olympic games, working a series of odd jobs until heading for Hollywood in 1930 upon meeting silent film star Douglas Fairbanks, who encouraged the young man to try his hand at acting. He toiled mostly in bit parts for the next few years and initially lost the role of Tarzan to Johnny Weissmuller after a shoulder injury.

Herman Brix at the 1928 Olympic gamesHerman Brix/Bruce Bennett

Throwing the shot-put at the 1928 Olympic games

By 1934, Edgar Rice Burroughs had become dissatisfied with the portrayal of his Tarzan character in films; whereas Burroughs' Tarzan was erudite, thoughtful, and a well-spoken member of the landed gentry, film Tarzans up to that point spoke in monosyllabic utterances (if at all) and were basically human forms of the beasts that roamed the jungle. However, Burroughs had leased the rights to the character to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and had little control over the portrayal of the king of the jungle in MGM's wildly successful Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan films. Burroughs decided to film his own Tarzan movie and selected Herman Brix for his 1935 feature The New Adventures of Tarzan, produced by Burroughs-Tarzan Enterprises, Inc. and released as both a 12-chapter serial (265 minutes total) and a full-length 75-minute feature. Burroughs shifted the action of the film from the African jungles to Guatemala, and it was filmed in extremely primitive conditions in Guatemala. Although Brix is good in the role, most American audiences didn't have a chance to see the film. At the time, MGM had stronghold on the American film industry and managed to block widespread distribution of the film. However, Burroughs had more success in Europe and Asia, where the film proved to be very popular.

In the late 1930s, Herman Brix decided to shed his identity as a former athlete and former Tarzan, changing his name to Bruce Bennett. He signed with Columbia Studios in the late 1930s, initially appearing in small roles and uncredited parts in comedy films like Blondie Brings Up Baby (1939), The Spook Speaks (1940), and the Three Stooges short No Census, No Feeling (1940). His career quickly gained momentum, and soon Bennett was starring in a variety of film genres, including westerns and war films. Of all Tarzan actors, Bennett had by far the longest and most versatile acting career.

Bruce BennettBruce Bennett

LEFT: A 1934 promotional shot of Herman Brix (later Bruce Bennett) as Tarzan. RIGHT: Bruce Bennett left Columbia in 1944 and signed with Warner Bros.

Bennett's career benefited from a move to Warner Bros. in 1945, when he starred with Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce, portraying Mildred's weary husband. The next year, he was in the Bette Davis film A Stolen Life, but perhaps his best film is the 1948 feature The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, with Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston.

the films of bruce bennett

The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935)

Herman Brix/Bruce BennettHerman Brix/Bruce BennettHerman Brix/Bruce BennettHerman Brix as TarzanHerman Brix as Tarzan

Scenes from the 1935 serial The New Adventures of Tarzan

Hawk of the Wilderness (1938)

Bruce Bennett

Bennett stars as Kioga in the twelve-chapter Republic serial Hawk of the Wilderness

The Lone Ranger (1938)

Lee Powell and Bruce Bennett

With Lee Powell in the Republic serial The Lone Ranger

Honolulu Lu (1941)

Bruce Bennett, Lupe Velez, and Forrest Tucker

With Lupe Velez and Forrest Tucker in the Columbia comedy Honolulu Lu

Sahara (1943)

Bruce Bennett

Bennett as Waco Hoyt in the Columbia war picture Sahara

Cheyenne (1947)

Bruce Bennett

Bennett as outlaw Ed Landers in the Warner Bros. western Cheyenne

Smart Girls Don't Talk (1948)

Bruce Bennett and Virginia Mayo

From the Warner Bros. crime drama Smart Girls Don't Talk with Virginia Mayo

The Second Face (1950)

Bruce Bennett, Ella Raines, and John Sutton

With Ella Raines and John Sutton in the drama The Second Face

Calvary Charge (1951)

Ronald Reagan and Bruce Bennett

With Ronald Reagan in the Paramount western Cavalry Charge

The Big Tip Off (1955)

Richard Conte and Bruce Bennett

From the Allied Artists film noir thriller The Big Tip Off with Richard Conte

Daniel Boone, Trail Blazer (1956)

Bruce Bennett

Bennett as the title character in Republic's Daniel Boone, Trail Blazer

Flaming Frontier (1958)

Shane Rimmer and Bruce Bennett

From the 20th Century Fox B western Flaming Frontier with Shane Rimmer

The Cosmic Man (1959)

Bruce BennettBruce Bennett and Angela Greene

From the Allied Artists science fiction release The Cosmic Man. LEFT: Bennett as Dr. Karl Sorenson. RIGHT: With Angela Greene and Scotty Morrow

The Outsider (1961)

Bruce Bennett

Bennett portrays General Bridges in the Universal-International war drama The Outsider

Daktari (1966-1969 CBS TV Series)

Bruce Bennett and Judy the Chimp

From a January 1968 episode of Daktari titled The Killer Cub. Also pictured is Judy the Chimp

later years

After making more than 100 films, Bennett began to cool his film career in the late 1950s, focusing instead on his business interests. Nonetheless, he acted in films and television on occasion. In 1961, he wrote and starred in the campy low-budget flick The Fiend of Dope Island. In addition he occasionally accepted roles in TV productions; he was frequently seen on Perry Mason, among other shows. His last film was the low-budget science fiction flick The Clones in 1974, after which Bennett retired from acting. In his later years, he made frequent appearances at autograph conventions. Sadly, Bruce Bennett passed away on February 24, 2007, after breaking a hip. He is survived by a daughter, a son, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

bruce bennett dvds available from amazon.com

bruce bennett books available from amazon.com

filmography

FILM
The Clones (1974) with Alex Nicol, Michael Greene, Gregory Sierra, and John Drew Barrymore
Deadhead Miles (1972) with Alan Arkin
Fiend of Dope Island (1961) with Robert Bray and Tania Velia
The Outsider (1961) with Tony Curtis and James Franciscus
The Alligator People (1959) with Beverly Garland and Lon Chaney Jr.
The Cosmic Man (1959) with John Carradine and Angela Greene
Flaming Frontier (1958) with Jim Davis
Three Violent People (1956) with Charlton Heston, Gilbert Roland, Tom Tryon, and Anne Baxter
Love Me Tender (1956) with Elvis Presley, Debra Paget, Richard Egan, William Campbell, Barry Coe, and Ken Clark
Daniel Boone, Trail Blazer (1956) with Lon Chaney Jr.
The Bottom of the Bottle (1956) with Van Johnson and Ruth Roman
The Three Outlaws (1956) with Neville Brand and Alan Hale Jr.
Hidden Guns (1956) with John Carradine, Richard Arlen, and Angie Dickinson
Robbers' Roost (1955) with George Montgomery, Richard Boone, Peter Graves, and William Hopper
Strategic Air Command (1955) with James Stewart and June Allyson
The Big Tip Off (1955) with Richard Conte
Dragonfly Squadron (1953) with John Hodiak, Barbara Britton, Chuck Connors, John Lupton, and Gerald Mohr
Dream Wife (1953) with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr
Sudden Fear (1952) with Joan Crawford, Jack Palance, Gloria Grahame, and Mike Connors
Angels in the Outfield (1951) with Janet Leigh and Jeff Richards
The Great Missouri Raid (1951) with Wendell Corey, Bill Williams, Macdonald Carey, Ellen Drew, Ward Bond, Anne Revere, Edgar Buchanan, and Tom Tyler
Cavalry Charge (1951) with Ronald Reagan, Rhonda Fleming, and Bill Williams
The Second Face (1950) with Ella Raines and Jane Darwell
Mystery Street (1950) with Ricardo Montalban, Jan Sterling, Sally Forrest, and Marshall Thompson
Shakedown (1950) with Howard Duff, Brian Donlevy, Peggie Castle, Peggy Dow, and Rock Hudson
Without Honor (1950) with Dane Clark, Franchot Tone, Agnes Moorehead, and Laraine Day
The Doctor and the Girl (1949) with Glenn Ford and Janet Leigh
Task Force (1949) with Gary Cooper and Julie London
Undertow (1949) with Scott Brady, Rock Hudson, Peggy Dow, and John Russell
The House Across the Street (1949) with Wayne Morris, Janis Paige, and Barbara Bates
The Younger Brothers (1949) with Wayne Morris, Janis Paige, and Robert Hutton
Smart Girls Don't Talk (1948) with Virginia Mayo
To the Victor (1948) with Dennis Morgan, Viveca Lindfors, Anthony Caruso, William Conrad, and Dorothy Malone
Silver River (1948) with Errol Flynn and Ann Sheridan
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) with Humphrey Bogart and Tim Holt
Dark Passage (1947) with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Agnes Moorehead
Cheyenne (1947) with Dennis Morgan, Jane Wyman, Janis Paige, and Tom Tyler
Nora Prentiss (1947) with Ann Sheridan and Rosemary DeCamp
The Man I Love (1946) with Ida Lupino, Robert Alda, Andrea King, and Martha Vickers
A Stolen Life (1946) with Bette Davis, Glenn Ford, and Dane Clark
Danger Signal (1945) with Faye Emerson, Zachary Scott, Mona Freeman, and Rosemary DeCamp
Mildred Pierce (1945) with Joan Crawford, Eve Arden, Zachary Scott, and Ann Blyth
I'm From Arkansas (1944) with Slim Summerville
U-Boat Prisoner (1944)
There's Something About a Soldier (1943) with Tom Neal, Kane Richmond, and Evelyn Keyes
Sahara (1943) with Humphrey Bogart and Lloyd Bridges
The More the Merrier (1943) with Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea
Murder in Times Square (1943) with Gerald Mohr
Underground Agent (1942) with Frank Albertson
Sabotage Squad (1942)
Atlantic Convoy (1942) with Larry Parks and Lloyd Bridges
Submarine Raider (1942) with John Howard and Marguerite Chapman
Tramp, Tramp, Tramp (1942) with Jackie Gleason
The Lone Wolf Keeps a Date (1941)
The Officer and the Lady (1941) with Rochelle Hudson
The Phantom Submarine (1941) with Anita Louise
Honolulu Lu (1941) with Lupe Velez, Forrest Tucker, and Leo Carrillo
Two Latins from Manhattan (1941) with Joan Davis, Jinx Falkenburg, and Joan Woodbury
Escape to Glory (1940)
Girls of the Road (1940)
The Lone Wolf Meets a Lady (1940)
The Secret Seven (1940)
West of Abilene (1940) with Charles Starrett
Before I Hang (1940) with Boris Karloff and Evelyn Keyes
The Man with Nine Lives (1940) with Boris Karloff
Hi-Yo Silver (1940) with Lee Powell, George Montgomery, and Dickie Jones
Blazing Six Shooters (1940) with Charles Starrett
Cafe Hostess (1940) with Preston Foster, Ann Dvorak, and James Craig
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (1939)
My Son Is Guilty (1939) with Bruce Cabot
Daredevils of the Red Circle (1939) with Carole Landis
Hawk of the Wilderness (1938)
The Fighting Devil Dogs (1938) with Lee Powell
The Lone Ranger (1938) with Lee Powell and George Montgomery
Tarzan and the Green Goddess (1938)
Land of Fighting Men (1938)
Amateur Crook (1937)
Blake of Scotland Yard (1937) with Ralph Byrd
Danger Patrol (1937)
Million Dollar Racket (1937) with Dave O'Brien
A Million to One (1937) with Joan Fontaine
Silks and Saddles (1937)
Sky Racket (1937)
Two Minutes to Play (1937) with Grady Sutton and Duncan Renaldo
Flying Fists (1937)
Shadow of Chinatown (1936) with Bela Lugosi
The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935)
Student Tour (1934) with Jimmy Durante and Betty Grable
Touchdown (1931)

TELEVISION GUEST APPEARANCES
O'Hara, U.S. Treasury, episode Operation: Offset, originally aired October 22, 1971
Lassie, episode Here Comes Glory!: Parts 1 and 2, originally aired November 22 and 29, 1970
Daktari, episode The Divining Rods, originally aired December 11, 1968
Daktari, episode The Killer Cub, originally aired January 30, 1968
The Men from Shiloh, episode Yesterday's Timepiece, originally aired January 18, 1967
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Carefree Coronary, originally aired October 17, 1965
Branded, episode I Killed Jason McCord, originally aired October 3, 1965
Kraft Suspense Theatre, episode The Last Clear Chance, originally aired March 11, 1965
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Reckless Rockhound, originally aired November 26, 1964
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Roving River, originally aired December 30, 1961
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Misguided Missile, originally aired May 6, 1961
The Case of the Dangerous Robin, episode Key Man, originally aired January 23, 1961
Laramie, episode Hour After Dawn, originally aired March 15, 1960
77 Sunset Strip, episode The Court Martial of Johnny Murdo, originally aired December 26, 1958
Rescue 8, episode The Crackup, originally aired October 28, 1958
The Texan, episode The Man with the Solid Gold Star, originally aired October 6, 1958
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Lucky Loser, originally aired September 27, 1958
Panic!, episode Survivors, originally aired May 18, 1958
Tales of Wells Fargo, episode Scapegoat, originally aired May 5, 1958
Tales of Wells Fargo, episode The Pickpocket, originally aired April 28, 1958
Whirlybirds, episode Rest in Peace, originally aired 1958
Playhouse 90, episode Ain't No Time for Glory, originally aired June 20, 1957
West Point, episode White Fury, originally aired March 1, 1957
Science Fiction Theatre, episode Bolt of Lightning, originally aired February 1, 1957
Whirlybirds, episode Airborne Gold, originally aired 1957
Science Fiction Theatre, episode Signals from the Moon, originally aired November 23, 1956
Science Fiction Theatre, episode Survival in Box Canyon, originally aired October 12, 1956
Crossroads, episode False Prophet, originally aired June 29, 1956
Science Fiction Theatre, episode Who Is This Man?, originally aired April 20, 1956
The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse, episode The Man Nobody Wanted, originally aired May 15, 1955
Damon Runyon Theater, episode Pick the Winner, originally aired April 16, 1955
Science Fiction Theatre, episode Beyond, originally aired April 5, 1955
Schlitz Playhouse, episode Mystery of Murder, originally aired November 26, 1954
Cavalcade of America, episode Moonlight Witness, originally aired November 2, 1954
Lux Video Theatre, episode Meet Jo Cathcart, originally aired September 30, 1954
Stories of the Century, episode Quantrill and His Raiders, originally aired February 21, 1954
The Ford Television Theatre, episode For the Love of Kitty, originally aired February 11, 1954
Fireside Theatre, episode The Uncrossed River, originally aired January 26, 1954
Fireside Theatre, episode Man of the Comstock, originally aired November 3, 1953
The Loretta Young Show, episode Prisoner at One O'Clock, originally aired October 4, 1953
The Ford Television Theatre, episode So Many Things Happen, originally aired December 18, 1952

bruce bennett film now showing

Watch Herman Brix (Bruce Bennett) in the boxing drama Flying Fists (1937)

Back to Brian's Drive-In Theater
Click on the logo to go back to Brian's Drive-In Theater
This page premiered April 7, 2000.
Copyright and Disclaimer Information