biographyFamed bodybuilder Reg Park was born on June 7, 1928, in Yorkshire, England. Park's father owned a gymnasium and a barbell company. The younger Park soon followed his father's lead, competing for the Mr. Britain title at the age of 18. In 1949, he won the Mr. Britain title and in 1950 won the Mr. Europe competition. Park was the winner of the Mr. Universe competition in 1951 and again in 1958 and 1965. He remained active in bodybuilding competitions through the early 1970s and was a popular subject on the cover of fitness magazines of the era.
LEFT: Reg Park lifts a taxi in London in 1957. CENTER A: On the June 1952 cover of Muscle Power. CENTER B: Park on the January 1951 cover of Your Physique. RIGHT: A 1970 photo of Park with Dave Draper and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Check out the Reg Park Gallery for more bodybuilding photos.
LEFT: Amazingly proportioned Canadian Leo Robert graces the January 1955 cover of The Reg Park Journal. Robert was Mr. Canada 1951 and Mr. Universe 1955. RIGHT: Reg Park takes a break from filming
Park made just five films between 1961 and 1964. Mainly a businessman, he had no great designs on his acting career, accepting film offers primarily as a financial proposition. Realizing that he could cash in on the Hercules craze as Steve Reeves had, Park returned to South Africa after completing his final film and resumed control of his growing business empire.
Park portrayed Hercules in three films in the early 1960s: Hercules and the Captive Women (1961; with Fay Spain); Hercules in the Haunted World (1961; with Christopher Lee), and Hercules, Prisoner of Evil (1964). Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans will recall Hercules and the Captive Women as episode #412. A strong entry in the sword and sandal genre, Hercules and the Captive Women (1962; with Fay Spain) finds Park at odds with Fay Spain, the tragic queen of Atlantis who sacrifices her only daughter to ensure the survival of Atlantis. Hercules saves the princess from a horrible fate, killing the monster to whom she has been sacrificed. After ordering her daughter to be put to death, the queen unsuccessfully attempts to drug Hercules. With the help of his son, Hylus (Luciano Marin), Hercules is able save the princess again and escape from Atlantis before it is destroyed.
the films of reg park
Hercules and the Captive Women (1961)
LEFT: Upon freeing the princess, Hercules returns her to Atlantis. CENTER and RIGHT: Queen Antinea (Fay Spain) uses her feminine wiles on Hercules
Hercules in the Haunted World (1961)
Hercules in the Haunted World is one of the best sword and sandal films, thanks to the superior direction of legendary B-movie director Mario Bava
Maciste in King Solomon's Mines (1964)
later yearsAlthough Park's few film appearances had little bearing on cinema history, he inspired some big film stars, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, to begin bodybuilding. In fact, Schwarzenegger trained with Park's help in the late 1960s, living with Park and his family in their South African home for awhile. Park also convinced Schwarzenegger to take the title role in the 1970 film Hercules in New York as a money-making proposition.
Park continued his association with the sport of bodybuilding as a contributor to a muscle magazine and occasionally served as a judge in competitions. Sadly, Reg Park passed away due to complications of melanoma in November 22, 2007, at the age of 79. Park's son, Jon Jon, is a personal fitness trainer in California whose skills have been promoted by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Oscar De La Hoya.
the reg park film photo galleryClick on the thumbnails to enlarge the photos.
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Hercules, the Avenger (1965) (aka Challenge of the Giant)
Maciste in King Solomon's Mines (aka Samson in King Solomon's Mines) (1964) with Dan Harrison and Carlo Tamberlani
Hercules, Prisoner of Evil (aka Ursus, the Terror of the Kirghiz) (1964)
Hercules and the Captive Women (1961) with Fay Spain
Hercules in the Haunted World (aka Hercules at the Center of the Earth) (1961) with Christopher Lee; directed by Mario Bava
reg park linksGo to the Reg Park Gallery page
Go to the Other Hercules Heroes page, featuring Peter and David Paul, Paul Wynter, and Richard Lloyd.
reg park film now showingWatch Reg Park's 1961 sword and sandal flick Hercules and the Captive Women
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This page premiered February 1, 1998.
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