Pictured above is great friend of the late Donald Gordon. In fact for many years Donald was our mystery star’s stand in.
A word of explanation: our pal Donald was — when he took this picture of today’s mystery personality — a young actor who found himself under contract at Columbia Pictures during World War II.
The studios in this wartime period were a bit less fussy about male hires, so Donald made the grade although he never made it big. He appears to have spent much of his time making (and photographing) friends on and off the studio lot, made easier by the fact that Donald was an outgoing, amiable type, easy to like.
Because he had a fleeting resemblance to today’s mystery star, Donald worked as mentioned as the actor’s stand-in. Our star was at the time often referred to as the poor man’s Johnny Weissmuller.
— He was one of the first athletes to enter the film business.
— He was born on Feb. 17, 1907 in Oakland, Cal., and parlayed his athleticism as an Olympic swim champion into wannabe Weissmuller status in 1933’s Tarzan the Fearless.
— He first came to Hollywood in the early Thirties. You probably don’t remember him in Tarzan The Fearless because the studio quickly shuttled him out of the Tarzan series and into various action hero roles including Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers and, in the early Forties, Billy the Kid.
— He also appeared in various serials of the 30′ s and 40’s, again as Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers and Billy the Kid (with Al “Fuzzy” St. John as his comic sidekick). He worked right up to television in the 1950’s when he starred with his son, Cuffy, in the series Captain Gallant of the French Foreign Legion.
— Our mystery star was a private man, so it was a genuine token of his friendship with Donald Gordon to allow these candid shots to be taken of him in an informal setting. He died April 23, 1983 in Scottsdale, Az.
Just who is our mystery star? Answer coming in Monday’s blog.