Oct. 19, 1903 Kalmar Kalmar kommun Kalmar lšn, Sweden
May 12, 1971 San Fernando Los Angeles County California, USA
Actor. Born in Sweden in 1903. the husky son of Karl J. Johansson and Lovissa Petersson, he became a professional wrestler while in his early teens. Shortening his name to "Tor Johnson", the young man journeyed to the United States and California in 1928. He immediately found work on the wrestling circuit as "The Super Swedish Angel", a large economy size version of the International mat villain, Frenchman Maurice Tillet, who was wrestling in the United States at the time as "The French Angel". In 1934 he made his American film debut in "Kid Millions" with popular comic Eddie Cantor, then, while continuing to wrestle, appeared in over thirty films, including "Man on the Flying Trapeze" with W.C. Fields, "Shadow of the Thin Man" with William Powell and Myrna Loy, "Canterville Ghost" with Charles Laughton, "Lost in a Harem" with Abbott & Costello, "Ghost Catchers" with Olsen & Johnson, "Road to Rio" with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour, "State of the Union" with Spencer Tracy and Kathryn Hepburn, "Alias the Champ" with fellow-grappler Gorgeous George, "The Lemon Drop Kid" with Bob Hope, "The Black Sleep" with Basil Rathbone, John Carradine, and Bela Lugosi, "Carousel" with Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones", and perhaps his most (in)famous film of them all, "Plan 9 from Outer Space" with Bela Lugosi and Vampira, for writer-director Ed Wood. Tor Johnson's television appearances included "You Bet Your Life" with Groucho Marx and George Fenneman, "Peter Gunn" with Craig Stevens and Lola Albright, "The Red Skelton Show" with Red Skelton, and "Bonanza" with Lorne Greene and Michael Landon. In the mid-1960s a mask and special effects company, Don Post Studios, immortalized the "gentle giant" by taking a life mask of the actor-wrestler, and also creating a best-selling commercial "monster mask" of Tor. The four-hundred pounds-plus character actor, in turn, recreated his best-known movie persona - "Lobo" - for a series of personal appearances with the Don Post Studios-Stunt Stars from Screenland Traveling Monster Show, seen at Uni-Mart stores throughout Southern California. In 1969 he retired to his home at 15129 Lakeside Street in Sylmar, a community near Hollywood, adjoining the San Fernando Valley. Plagued by ongoing heart problems most of his life, he passed away at the age of 67, at San Fernando Valley Hospital in San Fernando, California. The cause of his death was Congestive Heart Failure. In 1994, Tor Johnson was portrayed by wrestler George "The Animal" Steele in Tim Burton's motion picture "Ed Wood", with Johnny Depp and Martin Landau.