March 6, 2023
Ed Fury, a physique-model legend and legit movie star in the '60s, died at 94 on February 24, 2023.
The sad news of Fury's passing was confirmed by his wife to various friends, who broke the news on social media.
Born Rupert Edmund Holovchik on June 6, 1928, in Long Island, New York, the newly rechristened Ed Fury hightailed it to the West Coast, where his naturally obtained perfect proportions could be better appreciated in the eternal sunshine.
Fury was a fixture of the Muscle Beach bodybuilding scene from the 1940s on, and was quickly recruited to model for photographers like Bob Mizer (1922-1992) at Athletic Model Guild and Bruce Bellas aka Bruce of L.A. (1909-1974).
He sometimes posed fully nude, a big no-no in those days, and those images are rare. Later in life, Fury testily dismissed any of his nudes as "fakes," but modesty, a reluctance to acknowledge his status as a gay lust object and/or a rose-colored vision of his own past were to blame — they were real, and they were spectacular.
Fury was an obvious candidate for a film career, but as with many others of his stature, he was usually relegated to nonspeaking or inconsquential muscleman roles.
Because of Him" (1946), "Abbott and Costello Go to Mars" (1953), "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953), and "Bus Stop" (1956), all of which made use of his physical attributes.
His first, uncredited appearance was in the 1946 film Because of Him. He went on to appear in All Ashore (1953) and Dangerous When Wet (1953). He even popped up on some classics: Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), The Country Girl (1954), Bus Stop (1956) and South Pacific (1958).
Fury also worked on the early TV shows My Little Margie (1953) and Naked City (1959).
He landed a larger role in the ridiculous The Wild Women of Wongo (1958), and in the 1960s relocated to Europe to capitalize on the sword-and-sandal craze headed up by Reeves.
Fury's best-known character was Ursus, which he played in the film of the same name (1961), Valley of the Lions (1961) and Ursus in the Land of Fire (1963).
His acting range was maxed out with gladiator movies, but he continued to log TV guest appearances, showing up on such popular series as Gilligan's Island (1965), Star Trek (1968), Mission: Impossible (1968), The Doris Day Show (1969), The Odd Couple (1971), two episodes of Columbo (1973 & 1974) and Fantasy Island (1979).
After almost 50 film and TV appearances, Fury retired after offering a send-up of Urso in the over-the-top Dinosaur Valley Girls (1996), a camp parody of the kinds of films he'd helped popularize nearly 40 years before.
He wore a caveman outfit, and still looked to be in good shape in his late 60s.
Fury was rarely seen after that, but was honored in 2001 at Venice Beach alongside fellow bodybuilding greats Peter Lupus (b. 1932), Reg Lewis (1936-2021), Mickey Hargitay (1926-2006), Brad Harris (1933-2017), Mark Forest (1933-2022), Richard Harrison (b. 1936) and Gordon Mitchell (1923-2003).
Ed is survived by his wife.