Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Celebrity Profile - Jonny Weissmuller.
Better known as the brawny, monosyllabic, loincloth clad friend of the apes, husband of Jane and father of Boy, few (ouside this privileged circle of Olympic enlightenment), know that Weissmuller was swimming's first superstar.
Born in 1904 the son of Banat Swabians (modern day Romania) the Weissmuller family emigrated to the States when Jonny was three. He would later claim to have been born in Windber, Pennsylvania to ensure his eligibility for the US Olympic team. He contracted polio at the age of nine and started swimming on Doctors orders but went on to set 67 world records, among them being the first man to swim the 100m in under a minute.
Tarzan was an immediate hit. Seeing that he was wildly popular with girls, the studio told him to divorce the first of his five wives and paid her $10,000 to agree to it.
Weissmuller had a close call in Cuba during the time of the Cuban Revolution. While playing golf, he and his friends found themselves surrounded by a group of Castro's soldiers intent on kidnapping them. Thinking fast, Weissmuller gave his trademark Tarzan yell. The soldiers recognized it and were so delighted to meet him that they escorted the group to a safe area.
He was always grateful for the hand that life had served him, on his role as Tarzan he is quoted as saying 'How can a guy climb trees, say "Me, Tarzan, you, Jane," and make a million? The public forgives my acting because they know I was an athlete'.
He was the first Olympian to endorse Coca Cola.