biographyBorn in Freidorf, Austro-Hungary on June 2, 1904 (he often claimed to have been born in Windber, Pennsylvania), Johnny Weissmuller emigrated with his parents to the U.S. as an infant. The family eventually wound up in Pennsylvania, where his father Peter Weissmuller worked as coal miner, but the family moved again to Chicago. A sickly youth, Johnny Weissmuller took up swimming in Lake Michigan to build strength. By the time he entered the University of Chicago in 1922, the 6'3" young man had become an excellent swimmer, ultimately leading him to the Olympic Games in 1924 and 1928. He won five gold medals and set numerous world records.
LEFT: Weissmuller at the 1924 Paris Olympics, where he won three gold medals. RIGHT: In his most famous role as Tarzan. You'll find even more photos of Johnny Weissmuller in the Johnny Weissmuller Gallery
LEFT: With third wife Lupe Velez. CENTER A and B: Early 1930s MGM stills. RIGHT: Weissmuller with western actor George O'Brien
the films of johnny weissmuller
From Weissmuller's first Tarzan film, MGM's Tarzan the Ape Man. The film was an immediate smash hit with filmgoers and critics alike, and Weissmuller forever was identified with the role of Tarzan. LEFT: With C. Aubrey Smith, Maureen O'Sullivan, and Neil Hamilton. CENTER: With Maureen O'Sullivan. RIGHT: With Maureen O'Sullivan and Neil Hamilton
From Tarzan Escapes, the third entry in the series with Johnny Weissmuller. LEFT: With Maureen O'Sullivan. RIGHT: With Herbert Mundin
From Tarzan Finds a Son! with Maureen O'Sullivan. This film marks the first appearance of Johnny Sheffield in the role of Boy
Still from Tarzan's Secret Treasure with Johnny Sheffield and Maureen O'Sullivan
With Johnny Sheffield in RKO's Tarzan's Desert Mystery
From RKO's Tarzan Triumphs with Frances Gifford
With Johnny Sheffield and Brenda Joyce in Tarzan and the Huntress
Jungle Jim (1948)
LEFT: Weissmuller as the title character in Columbia's Jungle Jim. RIGHT: With Lita Baron and Virginia Grey
Jungle Jim In the Forbidden Land (1952)
Voodoo Tiger (1952)
Valley of Head Hunters (1953)
Devil Goddess (1955)
later yearsWeissmuller's syndicated TV series Jungle Jim did not ignite audiences and was canceled after 26 episodes. Now more than 50 years old, he grew weary of acting and returned to the Chicago area to start a swimming pool business in 1956. He made only a handful of film and TV appearances in the ensuing years. In the mid 1960s, he moved to Florida to tend to some business interests that eventually soured. He then left Florida for Las Vegas in the early 1970s where he worked as a greeter in a casino. Weissmuller's health began to decline in the mid 1970s, and in 1977 he suffered a series of strokes and spent about 18 months convalescing in the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital. His wife, Maria, moved him to Acapulco in 1979, where he passed away on January 20, 1984, at the age of 79. He was survived by his fifth wife, son Johnny Weissmuller, Jr. (1940-2006), and daughter Wendy. Weissmuller's daughter Heidi died in a car crash in 1962 at the age of 18.
johnny weissmuller films available from movies unlimited
Glorifying The American Girl [DVD](1929) DVD
The legendary Flo Ziegfeld "personally supervised" and appears briefly in this early Hollywood musical. Featured are 75 glorified beauties, music composed by Irving Berlin, wonderful costumes and choreography, and an all-star cast that includes Rudy Vallee crooning "Vagabond Lover," Helen Morgan singing "What Wouldn't I Do for That Man?," Eddie Cantor performing his "Cheap Charlie" skit, and more. With Mary Eaton, Noah Beery, Billie Burke, and a cavalcade of screen icons. Standard; Soundtrack: English. Plays All Regions.
Greatest Classic Films Collection: Tarzan, Vol. 1 [DVD] DVD
Two-disc set includes "Tarzan, The Ape Man" (1932), "Tarzan and His Mate," "Tarzan Escapes," and "Tarzan Finds a Son!"
Greatest Classic Films Collection: Tarzan, Vol. 2 [DVD] DVD
Two-disc set includes "Tarzan's Secret Treasure," "Tarzan's New York Adventure," "Tarzan and the Amazons," and "Tarzan and the Leopard Woman."
Stage Door Canteen [DVD](1943) DVD
The greatest collection of stars in an "All Out for Victory" musical blockbuster. The story is a simple soldier-meets-USO-girl love story, but what a supporting cast! Katharine Hepburn, Helen Hayes, George Raft, Paul Muni, Harpo Marx, Ed Wynn, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, and more, with music by Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Guy Lombardo, and their orchestras. 131 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English.
Swamp Fire [DVD](1946) DVD
Screen Tarzans Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe find themselves on opposite sides of the law and rivals for Virginia Grey in this rarely seen actioner set in the Louisiana bayou. Look for a young David Janssen among the alligators. 69 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English mono; scene access. Plays All Regions.
Mark Of The Gorilla [DVD](1950) DVD
It's monkey business for Jungle Jim (Johnny Weissmuller) in this action-packed tale that follows the dashing adventurer on a daring mission to stop a band of treasure hunters who disguise themselves as gorillas in order to scare the natives while they search for a fortune in hidden Nazi gold. Trudy Marshall, Suzanne Dalbert, Onslow Stevens also star. 68 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.
Pygmy Island [DVD](1950) DVD
Johnny Weissmuller dons more than his usual amount of clothing in this Jungle Jim adventure, as Jim endeavors to locate an airman missing in the wilderness. The search leads him to perils involving crocodiles, crazed elephants, and a tribe of angry little people. Ann Savage, David Bruce, and Billy Barty co-star. AKA: "Jungle Jim in Pygmy Island." 69 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.
Fury Of The Congo [DVD](1951) DVD
This terrific Jungle Jim outing starring Johnny Weissmuller finds the intrepid hero coming to the rescue of a pilot only to be confronted by Congo-based sandstorms, leopards, and devious criminals while investigating a strange narcotics factory. Jim soon unearths a dastardly plot to create a new drug from the glands of a tribe's sacred animal. With Sherry Moreland, Lyle Talbot. 69 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.
Jungle Manhunt [DVD](1951) DVD
Thrilling entry in the popular Jungle Jim series has the daring Jim heading off into the dense forest (where else?) to lead the search for missing gridiron star Bob Miller (real-life football player Bob Waterfield). But Jim's mission doesn't go quite as planned and soon he's battling a tribe of skeleton men, squashing an artificial diamond manufacturing ring, and facing off against dinosaurs. Johnny Weissmuller, Sheila Ryan, Rick Vallin, and Lyle Talbot star. 65 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.
Jungle Man-Eaters [DVD](1954) DVD
In this action-packed adventure, Jungle Jim (Johnny Weissmuller) squares off against a relentless smuggler who is determined to control the world's diamond trade. Accompanied by a Scotland Yard inspector, the policeman's ladyfriend, and a tribal chieftain, Jim sets out to stop the bad guy-battling lions, bulls, and a crocodile along the way. With Karin Booth, Richard Stapley, Bernie Hamilton. 67 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; theatrical trailer.
Jungle Moon Men [DVD](1955) DVD
Considered part of the Jungle Jim series, this exciting actioner actually features Johnny Weissmuller starring as "himself." Here, Johnny and an Egyptologist (Jean Bryon) encounter a tribe of moon-worshipping pygmies who are led by an evil high priestess (Helene Stanton) who has discovered the secret of eternal life. With William Henry, Myron Healy, Billy Curtis. 70 min. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.
The Phynx [DVD](1970) DVD
Barely released in its day, this bizarre psychedelic spy spoof follows The Phynx, a fake rock band whose computer-picked members (Ray Chippeway, Dennis Larden, Michael A. Miller, Lonny Stevens) are tapped by a secret government agency to tour behind the Iron Curtain and free American celebs kidnapped to Albania. Among the star-studded cameos are Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan, James Brown, Dick Clark, Richard Pryor, Colonel Sanders, Ed Sullivan, Bowery Boys Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall, and the Lone Ranger and Tonto! 81 min. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.
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Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976)
The Phynx (1970) with Clint Walker, Michael Ansara, George Tobias, Joan Blondell, Martha Raye, Ultra Violet, and Pat McCormick
Devil Goddess (1955) with Angela Stevens
Jungle Moon Men (1955) with Jean Byron and Myron Healey
Cannibal Attack (1954) with David Bruce
Jungle Man-Eaters (1954) with Karin Booth, Richard Wyler, and Bernie Hamilton
Savage Mutiny (1953) with Angela Stevens
Killer Ape (1953) with Carol Thurston, Nestor Paiva, and
Ray "Crash" Corrigan
Valley of Head Hunters (1953) with Christine Larsen and Don Blackman
Jungle Jim In the Forbidden Land (1952) with Angela Greene
Voodoo Tiger (1952) with Charles Horvath, Jean Byron, and Robert Bray
Fury of the Congo (1951) with Lyle Talbot and Sherry Moreland
Jungle Manhunt (1951) with Lyle Talbot and Sheila Ryan
Mark of the Gorilla (1950) with Trudy Marshall
Captive Girl (1950) with Buster Crabbe
Pygmy Island (1950) with Ann Savage, David Bruce, and Steven Geray
The Lost Tribe (1949) with Myrna Dell and Elena Verdugo
Jungle Jim (1948) with George Reeves, Virginia Grey, and Lita Baron
Tarzan and the Mermaids (1948) with Brenda Joyce, George Zucco, and Linda Christian
Tarzan and the Huntress (1947) with Brenda Joyce and Johnny Sheffield
Swamp Fire (1946) with Buster Crabbe and Virginia Grey
Tarzan and the Leopard Woman (1946) with Brenda Joyce, Johnny Sheffield, and Acquanetta
Tarzan and the Amazons (1945) with Johnny Sheffield and Brenda Joyce
Stage Door Canteen (1943)
Tarzan Triumphs (1943) with Johnny Sheffield and Frances Gifford
Tarzan's Desert Mystery (1943) with Johnny Sheffield, Nancy Kelly, Otto Kruger, Lloyd Corrigan, and Robert Lowery
Tarzan's New York Adventure (1942) with Maureen O'Sullivan, Elmo Lincoln, Johnny Sheffield, Virginia Grey, Charles Bickford, Paul Kelly, and Chill Wills
Tarzan's Secret Treasure (1941) with Johnny Sheffield, Maureen O'Sullivan, Reginald Owen, Barry Fitzgerald, and Tom Conway
Rodeo Dough (1940) with Gene Autry, Tom Neal, and Roy Rogers
Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939) with Johnny Sheffield, Maureen O'Sullivan, Henry Wilcoxon, and Laraine Day
Tarzan Escapes (1936) with Maureen O'Sullivan and Benita Hume
Tarzan and His Mate (1934) with Maureen O'Sullivan, Neil Hamilton, and Paul Cavanagh
Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) with Neil Hamilton, Maureen O'Sullivan, and C. Aubrey Smith
Glorifying the American Girl (1929) with Eddie Cantor, Helen Morgan, and Rudy Vallee
Jungle Jim, 1955-1956 syndicated TV series. About 26 episodes were produced
johnny weissmuller linksThe Johnny Weissmuller Gallery at Brian's Drive-In Theater
You'll find more Tarzan-era photos of Johnny Weissmuller here.
Geoff's Johnny Weissmuller Web Site
A terrifically comprehensive site devoted to Johnny Weissmuller, Geoff's pages are chock-full of biographical information, filmography, history, and more. The extensive biographical section on Weissmuller is particularly impressive and well researched.
Matt's Tarzan Movies Guide
Another site for Tarzan fans which includes pages devoted to Johnny Sheffield's Bomba series and Johnny Weissmuller's Jungle Jim series.