biographyBorn in Montana on January 21, 1926, actor and bodybuilder Steve Reeves moved to California at the age of ten with his widowed mother. He cultivated an interest in bodybuilding while in his teens; by the time he was 17 years old, Reeves had developed quite a Herculean build. After graduating high school, Reeves entered the Army during the latter days of World War II. Upon his release, Reeves decided to enter bodybuilding contests and soon blew his competitors away, winning the titles "Mr. Pacific Coast," "Mr. Western America," and "Mr. America" in 1947. He won the "Mr. World" contest the following year, and in 1950 he became Mr. Universe, beating Reg Park. While a success in the sport of bodybuilding, luck with Reeves' other interest, acting, seemed elusive. He enrolled in acting classes and nearly landed the role of Samson in Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah (1949), a part that was eventually won by Victor Mature. Reeves would have to wait nearly ten years before his second shot at stardom.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Steve Reeves made a number of local and national television appearances. His TV career first started in 1949, when he starred in a 15-minute pilot titled Kindar, but the show was never picked up and did not go to series. Reeves then took guest roles on established TV shows, such as Topper, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show.
It seems odd that Reeves' first film appearance came in Ed Wood's Jailbait. Jailbait (1954) finds Steve Reeves playing cops and robbers with Dolores Fuller and Lyle Talbot. In fact, since so many of Reeves' movies are dubbed, Jailbait is one of the few opportunities to actually hear the voice of the future Hercules star. Incidentally, Reeves had only good things to say about his first film director, Ed Wood: It was a pleasure to work with a director like Ed Wood. He was patient and understood how to make new and inexperienced actors feel at ease and get the best performance out of them. (from Nightmare of Ecstasy by Rudolph Grey, 1992, p. 50). Reeves' second film, the 1954 MGM musical Athena, was a box-office disappointment. Starring in Athena were Debbie Reynolds, Linda Christian, and Jane Powell. Also, Mr. America 1954 Dick DuBois was cast in the film, billed as Richard Sabre. Quick eyes can also spot Ed Fury, Bert Goodrich, Joe Gold, and Irvin 'Zabo' Koszewski.
Reeves in a 1952 appearance on Burns and Allen. See The Steve Reeves Gallery for bodybuilding photos of Steve Reeves
the films of steve reeves
LEFT: Debbie Reynolds is suspended in mid-air by Dick Dubois and Steve Reeves during a publicity stunt. CENTER: With Debbie Reynolds. RIGHT: With Jane Powell and Debbie Reynolds
LEFT: Steve Reeves watches his new film at the premier for Hercules. RIGHT: Scene from the film. As rumor has it, the daughter of Italian director Pietro Francisci saw Reeves in Athena; she urged her father to hire the actor for the starring role in his new picture, Hercules.
Behind the scenes on the set of Hercules. The picture on the far right includes co-star Sylva Koscina
Hercules Unchained (1959)
Images from Hercules Unchained. LEFT: Reeves wrestles with Primo Carnera. CENTER A: With Sylva Koscina. CENTER B, C, and LEFT: Reeves as Hercules. Given the wild success of the original Hercules, producers decided to cash in again with the sequel, Hercules Unchained. In a feat which is rare in films, the sequel is actually more entertaining than the original
The White Warrior (1959)
Goliath and the Barbarians (1959)
From the adventure Goliath and the Barbarians. LEFT and CENTER A: Reeves as Goliath. CENTER B and RIGHT: With Chelo Alonso
The Giant of Marathon (1959)
LEFT and CENTER A: From the MGM release The Giant of Marathon with Reeves as Phillipides. CENTER B and RIGHT: With Mylene Demongeot
The Last Days of Pompeii (1959)
The Thief of Baghdad (1960)
From The Thief of Baghdad, the second remake of the classic 1924 version starring Douglas Fairbanks and Anna May Wong. Reeves even sported a Fairbanks-like moustache for the role
Duel of the Titans (1961)
LEFT: Gordon Scott as Remus and Steve Reeves as Romulus in Duel of the Titans. CENTER: With with Virna Lisi and an unidentified crew member. RIGHT: Shot of Reeves from the film
Morgan the Pirate (1961)
LEFT and CENTER: Reeves as the title character Henry Morgan in the adventure Morgan the Pirate. RIGHT: With Chelo Alonso
The Avenger (1962)
The Trojan Horse (1962)
The Slave (1963)
From the adventure The Slave, aka Son of Spartacus. LEFT: As Randus, the title character. CENTER: Reeves duels with Jacques Sernas. RIGHT: With his fellow slaves
Sandokan the Great (1963)
Sandokan, Pirate Of Malasia (1964)
A Long Ride from Hell (1968)
From the spaghetti western A Long Ride from Hell, Reeves' final film. Reeves starred and also wrote the screenplay (thanks to Dennis McHaney for images)
later yearsInterestingly, Reeves turned down a number of roles that made the careers of other actors. For example, Reeves said no to Albert Broccoli's offer of $100,000 to star in Dr. No (1962; with Sean Connery and Ursula Andress) as James Bond because he was earning $250,000 per picture in Italy. In addition, he also refused the role that eventually went to Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars (1964). Due to shoulder injuries suffered while making several of his films, Reeves went into retirement in 1964. However, Reeves longed to make a western, which he did in A Long Ride from Hell, his final film which was released in 1968.
LEFT: A 1964 photo of Reeves walking in Kalambaka, Greece. CENTER A: A 1994 photo of Gordon Scott and Steve Reeves in Knoxville, Tennessee (Copyright 1998 Dennis McHaney. Used by permission). CENTER B: Reeves in a 1996 photo. RIGHT: Reeves on his ranch in the early 1980s
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A Long Ride from Hell (1968) with Wayde Preston and Rosalba Neri
Sandokan, Pirate Of Malasia (1964) with Mimmo Palmara
Sandokan the Great (1964) with Rik Battaglia
The Slave (1963) (aka The Son of Spartacus) with Jacques Sernas
The Shortest Day (1963)
The Trojan Horse (1962) with John Drew Barrymore
The Avenger (1962) with Giacomo Rossi-Stuart
Morgan the Pirate (1961) with Chelo Alonso
Duel of the Titans (1961) with Gordon Scott and Virna Lisi
The Thief of Baghdad (1960)
The Last Days of Pompeii (1959) with Fernando Rey
Giant of Marathon (1959) with Alan Steel
Goliath and the Barbarians (1959) with Chelo Alonso and Bruce Cabot
The White Warrior (1959) with Georgia Moll and Scilla Gabel
Hercules Unchained (1959) Sylva Koscina and Sylvia Lopez
Hercules (1958) with Sylva Koscina and Luciana Paluzzi
Athena (1954) with Debbie Reynolds, Jane Powell, Linda Christian, and Dick Dubois
Jail Bait (1954) with Dolores Fuller and Lyle Talbott; directed by Edward D. Wood Jr.
TELEVISION GUEST APPEARANCES
The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, episode Harry Returns Early, originally aired April 22, 1957
Topper, episode Reducing, originally aired November 6, 1953
Stars Over Hollywood, episode Prison Doctor, originally aired March 14, 1951
steve reeves linksSteve Reeves, An Authorized Biography: Worlds to Conquer
Christopher D. LeClaire is the official biographer of Steve Reeves. In his book Worlds To Conquer, LeClaire captures in words and photography, including over 190 photos - many never before published - the definitive portrait of the man who has inspired millions, the man many believe to be the greatest bodybuilder ever.This authorized site boasts many photos of Reeves, from childhood to the 1990s and offers official Steve Reeves memorabilia.
The Official Steve Reeves International Society Web Site
The Steve Reeves International Society (SRIS) was formed in 1995 by George Helmer. This authorized site boasts many photos of Reeves, from childhood to the 1990s and offers official Steve Reeves memorabilia.
steve reeves film now showingWatch Steve Reeves in the film The White Warrior (1959)
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