Actor. Body builder. He moved to California, with his widowed mother Goldie, at the age of 10, after his father Lester Dell Reeves died from an accident. By the time he was 17 his interest in bodybuilding had led to his developing a Herculean build. After he was graduated from High School he entered the Army during the later part of World War II. After his discharge he started entering body building contests where he quickly eliminated the competition. Starting with Mr. Pacific Coast, followed by Mr. Western America he went on to win Mr. America in 1947. The next year he would become Mr. World in 1948 finally winning Mr. Universe in 1950. He had a great desire to act and despite acting class success would elude him for the next decade. After almost getting the role of Samson in Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah (1949) the part finally went to Victor Mature. He did that year get a 15-minute television pilot called "Kindar" but the show was never picked up and that was followed by guest appearances on established shows such as the George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. His first film break came in 1954 in the Ed Wood film "Jailbait." In fact this is one of the few opportunities to hear his own voice as most of his later films were dubbed. That same year he also appeared in "Athena" with Debbie Reynolds and Jane Powell. He finally reached stardom in Hercules" in 1958 which after its great success was followed by the sequel "Hercules Unchained the following year one of five films he would make that year. The others were "The White Warrior"; "Goliath and the Barbarians" with veteran actor Bruce Cabot; "The Giant of Marathon" and "The Last Days of Pompeii." This run was followed by "The thief of Baghdad" (1960), "Duel of the Titans" and "Morgan the Pirate" (1961), "The Avenger" and "The Trojan Horse" (1962), "The Slave" and "Sandokan the Great" (1963), "The Pirates of the Seven Seas" (1964), "A Long Ride from Hell (1967). He turned down a number of parts that went on to make the careers of other actors. He was asked to star as 'James Bond' in "Dr. No" in 1962 which he turned down as he did the role that finally went to Clint Eastwood in "A Fistful of Dollars" (1964). His final film in 1968 was "A Long Ride from Hell" fulfilling his wish to make a Western before he retired. He bought a ranch with his savings and lived there with his second wife Aline until her death in 1989.
Bio by: D C McJonathan-Swarm
Aline Janine Czartjarwitz Reeves
1932–1989 (m. 1963)