Mike Henry: Torrid Tarzan

Mike Henry was born on August 15, 1936, in L.A. A talented athlete, he went on to glory in the NFL, playing for the Steelers (1958-1961) and the Rams (1962-1964).

He only played Tarzan in 1965 — but the movies kept him refreshed as the iconic character through the '60s. (Image via Paramount)

His stunning good looks and strapping physique caught the eye of Hollywood, plus he had experience — he had popped up in the 1957 exploitation film Curfew Breakers.

He tackled acting. (Image via Post)

Signed to Warner Bros., he began acting anew in 1963, including working on 77 Sunset Strip (1963) and appearing on the super popular The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1963).

Thighs like us (Image via Paramount)
Tarzan had a secret stash of Brylcreem. (Image via Paramount)

His big break came when he was hired to star as Tarzan in a trio of films, all of which were filmed throughout 1965 for a staggered release.

Tarzan and the Valley of Gold — Nancy, we know just how you feel! (Images via Paramount)

In Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966), he starred opposite blonde bombshell Nancy Kovack (b. 1935).

Tarzan and the Great River — Giving good back to Diana Millay, being choked out by Rafer Johnson (b. 1935) (Images via Paramount)
CFNM with Diana Millay (Image via Paramount)

His love interest in Tarzan and the Great River (1967) was also blonde, Diana Millay (b. 1935), who after the movie was shot began a long gig on Dark Shadows (1966-1969) and in the film Night of Dark Shadows (1971) before retiring.

Tarzan and the Jungle Boy — Where's the girl?! (Images via Paramount)

Finally, Henry mixed it up with Aliza Gur (b. 1944) in Tarzan and the Jungle Boy (1968).

You go, Gur! (Image via Paramount)

Having had his fill of the role, he passed on an opportunity play Tarzan on TV.

Henry (L) Duke-ing it out (Image via Warner Bros.)

In 1968, Henry had a meaty part in The Green Berets, also appearing in More Dead Than Alive (1969), Number One (1969) and in Howard Hawks's (1896-1977) Rio Lobo (1970) with John Wayne (1907-1979).

Flying high with Yvette Mimieux (b. 1942) and Charlton Heston (1923-2008) in Skyjacked (Image via United Artists)
Soylent Green copper (Image via MGM)

He also appeared in the thriller Skyjacked (1972) and the cult hit Soylent Green (1973).

As a crooked prison guard in The Longest Yard (Image via Paramount)

Henry had worked with Burt Reynolds (1936-2018) on an episode of Dan August (1970), and was reunited with him in the hit movie The Longest Yard (1974). Theirs was a fortuitous relationship for Henry, whose Tarzan glory was behind him, but who wound up making his most lasting impression in Reynolds's box-office-busting smashes Smokey and the Bandit (1977), Smokey and the Bandit II (1980) and Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983). In them, he played the moronic son of Jackie Gleason's (1916-1987) Sheriff Buford T. Justice, and while still handsome, he played the idiot so well he was all but unrecognizable as one of the hottest of all the movie Tarzans.

He's with stupid. (Image via Universal)

Along the way, Henry had continued doing TV work, but his output had decreased. Post-Smokey 3, he had only one small movie role, as a nameless Russian baddie in Outrageous Fortune (1987).

Sadly, in 1988, Henry retired from acting once diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

Feast your eyes on some of his hottest poses:

World's first POV shot (Image via Paramount)
Tarzan the top (Image via Paramount)
Ready for anything (Image via Paramount)
Was he the hottest Tarzan?! (Image via Paramount)
Happy end! (Image via Paramount)

3 Responses

  1. Mike Henry is definitely the hottest Tarzan! Handsome, athletic, muscular, hairy…and filled out a loincloth very nicely. Thanks for the fun review of my favorite Tarzan.

  2. Mike was my good friend.
    I had a fish net loin cloth made and tack it to
    his front door—He loved it.
    We all laugh at it for months.
    hard to believe that was 50 years ago.

    So long


  3. I went to Virgil Junior High school with Mike. I enjoyed looking at the gorgeous pictures of him and how he had changed so much since junior high, wow!

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