Tiger Woods is undoubtedly among the most famous of current athletes. Despite (or perhaps because of) his infamous domestic tribulations, could his fame translate to movies? Over the years how many athletic stars were turned into movie stars?
Hello everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers here again pondering how many famous athletes from the 20s, 30s and 40s entered the movie business.
From the world of swimming there’s Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe. And let’s not forget Esther Williams. All three used either the Olympic Games or other high-level amateur competition as entrees to Hollywood.
Esther and Weissmuller, in fact, knew each other as amateurs. He was her swimming partner in a 1940 San Francisco Acquacade.
Williams noted in her 1999 autobiography The Million Dollar Mermaid that the future Mr. Tarzan had “remarkable genitalia that he loved to exhibit.” After their swimming act at the Acquacade was completed, he’d “whip off his trunks” and go after young Esther. “I would swim for (the exit) as though I was swimming for my life.”
From the skating world there’s Sonja Henie, Belita, Vera Hruba Ralston. In all, less randy types.
Babe Ruth was in silent pictures. And he wasn’t bad either. Check him out in the 1920 drama Headin’ Home, part of a fascinating DVD collection called Reel Baseball featuring two vintage features and 11 short films about the national past time –sorry, we don’t buy the notion that the NFL is entitled to that description — dating from a one-minute short made in 1899.
Headin’ Home presents the Sultan of Swat in his first starring role. He appears feisty and amazingly svelte.
In more recent decades Chuck Conners moved from baseball to television to movies.
The boxing world gave us Slapsy Maxie Rosenbloom. And Jack Dempsey.
O.J. Simpson had a stellar career in professional football and then films before he became infamous. Many stars played football in college (Burt Reynolds among them) but were not professional athletes.
And Arnold Swartzenneger moved from the world of bodybuilding to movie stardom to political stardom. He is one of the few weightlifters to do so.
So who’s your pick? Who in the current flush of athletic stardom will translate to the silver screen?