Johnny Weissmuller's Height
6ft 3 (190.5 cm)
Hungarian American actor best remembered for playing Tarzan in the 1930's and 40's. In a 1926 Popular Science article he was described as "standing six-feet-three with his 180 pounds of bulk."
MGM Publicity Photo, via Wikimedia Commons
Add a Comment20 comments
Average Guess (5 Votes)
6ft 3.15in (190.9cm)
Mincer said on 26/Oct/20
Rob, would you possibly add Miles O'Keeffe and make a Tarzan category?
J2Frenzy said on 25/Oct/20
Really makes you think that back then 6’3 180 was considered bulky when there’s 20 pounds to go before it’s even considered overweight. Nowadays that’s considered skinny by most people
Tall In The Saddle said on 24/Oct/20
Within reason, Weissmuller physique seemed like it could've been hone by and practically applied to the rigors and demands of Jungle Life.
Despite dropping weight, Mike Henry's physique still came off as somewhat weight trained. The type of physique that doesn't spring forth "naturally", environment notwithstanding. Artificial, so to speak. For Tarzan to achieve heavy muscle and a 6-8 pack, he's gonna need a Jungle Gym (pun intended) and a lot more time dedicated to training for its own sake.
Could you imagine Jane alerting Tarzan to a real time life and death situation involving Boy and Tarzan telling Jane they're going to have to wait a few minutes so Tarzan can finish the balance of his daily 1000 crunches?
That Woody Strode didn't lift weights is believable. His muscle volume wasn't great but the man was shredded. Genetically lean with broadly applied long muscle. I've done weights. Dumb bell curls with no mean weight on board, say 60 lbs, can get the biceps looking quite big and add some real strength. But then, to get out of the office, I've sporadically worked on construction sites primarily for the purpose of fitness. Humbling. So many more muscles and so much more strength and stamina called upon, without the luxury of linear or prefab movement paths afforded by Gym training.
I can tell you some of the strongest guys are not pumped up gym freaks or particularly heavy muscled. Muscled yes, but generally lean, long muscle.
Arch Stanton said on 20/Oct/20
Modern "roid" bodybuilding of course didn't really take off massively until Arnie's era but there were plenty of earlier guys who clearly lifted weights and trained even if it wasn't standard practice yet for athletes. Bodybuilding contests became more popular in the 1950s and a few Hollywood stars were lifting regularly by then (Clint Walker for example).
Ian C. said on 18/Oct/20
Weight training by athletes is a fairly recent training development, Arch. Weightlifting was once widely considered harmful, producing inflated muscles that impeded movement. The great athletes of the sixties, guys like Mickey Mantle and Gordie Howe and Muhammad Ali, did not lift weights, even though they all were heavily muscled They were naturally gifted with terrific muscle mass and concentrated on speed, grace and skill. Mantle was an habitual drunkard, which paradoxically adds to his lustre, because he was able to play baseball while hung over.
Google up pictures of Mike Henry, and he's just awesome looking. Henry was ordered to lose fifteen pounds to play Tarzan, and he did this by doing multiple repetitions of simple calisthenics, like push-ups Henry was just a natural mesomorph. Another former football player was Woody Strode, who is heroic. Strode's daily workout was 200 push-ups. He did not lift weights.
I admit to a virulent scorn for bodybuilders, who are people who torture their bodies for a special look, and then compete in grotesque beauty contests. Current bodybuilding champions are deformed. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was much lighter than the bodybuilding champions of today, looked strange and unwholesome.
Arch Stanton said on 18/Oct/20
He was pretty athletic and potentially stronger than he looked but clearly didn't lift much weight and train his body like a bodybuilder. It's not as if bodybuilding hadn't taken off by the 1930s either, check out William Bankier. 6'3 and 180 is slim, you would expect a 6'3 Tarzan type to be at least 220.
Ian Coleman said on 15/Oct/20
Yeah, Tarzan called his adopted son Boy. Why did he then call his chimpanzee Cheetah? Guy was not so great at picking names. It's a lucky break for Jane Porter that she had a one-syllable name that Tarzan could pronounce.
Weissmuller set at least fifty world records for swimming, and was undefeated throughout his career. Oddly, he doesn't look that much stronger than an average man. Six foot three and 180 pounds is not overwhelmingly muscular. The strongest and most heroic actor to play Tarzan was Mike Henry, who had played professional football at six feet tall and 220 pounds. He had to lose weight to play Tarzan, and he looked as if he could beat up Weissmuller and eat a plate of spaghetti at the same time.
said on 11/Oct/20
Rob, so if you were to add O'Keeffe it would be at 6'3?
That figure might be what I gave him.
said on 16/Aug/20
Rob, who would you say was taller Johnny or Miles O'Keffee?
It's hard to pick them apart.
Tall In The Saddle
said on 17/Apr/20
Like everyone else, I watched re-runs of the old Tarzan movies/Jungle Jim movies when I was a kid. Probably first saw them late 60s/70s. Impossible to go past Weissmuller. For that role, he was the whole deal.
The chemistry between he, Maureen O'Sullivan and Boy as a family was great. In the books, Tarzan and Jane had a biological son. However, in the movies Tarzan and Jane weren't married so by 1939, due to censorship, Hollyweird was required to portray an adopted son saved by Cheetah from a plane crash, simply named Boy by Tarzan. Pre-code however, back in the very early 30s, they were able to slip in an artfully filmed skinny dip scene by Jane (O'Sullivan) whose jungle attire "accidentally" tears off completely when Tarzan pushes her into the drink.
Weissmuller was def. a non nonsense 6'3". He had incredibly broad shoulders that were on par with contemporary HW Champ Max Baer - both guys looking like T-Squares. Found a few pics of Weissmuller with John Wayne this first isn't perfect but gives you an idea that Weissmuller was right up there with Wayne - also note that the actor Preston Foster left of picture (on Wayne's right) was listed as 6'2".Click Here
This second photo is a bit better - Wayne appears to be standing at his absolute best while Weissmuller, more relaxed, has a bit of lean but they're still very close in height.
greg lehmann said on 24/Oct/18
Another unexpected classic movie shoved onto DVD recently and slipped onto my Christmas list:Voodoo Tiger. I remember growing up watching Jungle Jim action adventures on Tuesday nights right after Yogi Bear. Voodoo Tiger is me favorite of Columbia's 16 Jungle Jim action adventures,but it made the Christmas cut for the WRONG reason:it was the first movie Patty Duke Show mommy Jean Byron made. Still even though I haven't seen a Jungle Jim movie completely since 1974,Voodoo Tiger is not a bad Jungle Jim adventure. And Wall Of Noise also with Byron now has a "doubles" partner,much like adding The Boatniks now gives Onionhead a doubles partner since they both have Coast Guard themes.
James A. Howerton said on 14/Mar/18
This is a great site. I'm always interested in celebrities heights, especially famous actors because you can't tell how tall actors are on TV or in the movies. When I was a kid and watched Tarzan movies on TV on Saturdays, I could tell he was much taller than the other actors in the Tarzan series of movies. In the movie "Tarzan's New York Adventure" you can see his enormous wingspan and huge hands which are essential for great swimmers. I know those movies probably seem corny to people today but they are still much better than the later Tarzan movies, at least in my opinion. I was a short, scrawny kid and I dreamed of being tall like Johnny or my favorite actor, John Wayne. My mom was 5' tall and my dad was 5'11" so it was a long shot. Unknown to me (because he died before I ever met him) was the fact that my dad's Grandfather was 6'4". At 16, I grew 6" in one summer which was painful. To make matters worse by the time I reached 17 I weighed about 130 lbs. I ended up at 6'2" by the time I reached Marine Corps boot camp and weighed 135. But it took until I was about 22 before my body finished developing at 185 lbs. I'm the tallest in my family due to that recessed gene from my Great Grandfather. I always hoped to be 6'4" like the Duke but I was just happy that I was over 6'. I also grew up swimming all the time from surfing in Florida before they had surfboard retention cords. It made me a very good swimmer and I attained the highest swimming qualification in the Marines. Of course I was no Johnny Weissmuller, but my swimming ability saved me from drowning twice.
RichardSpain said on 26/May/17
He looked a classic man 190cm barefoot. 6,3 feet is possible.
Arch Stanton said on 27/Jul/16
Certainly did look it. Yes, unlike today's roid munching gym rats, he looked naturally athletic and healthy, when the emphasis was on aesthetics and not bulk. Did he bulk up a bit for Tarzan though, I wouldn't have guessed him under 200 pounds in the 30s Tarzan films.
Jakob said on 23/Apr/16
Looked every bit of six foot three, and a really natural athlete. Nowadays guys are ripped and bulky, whereas a guy like this was lean with a flat chest and wide shoulders; a more 'natural' kind of fitness that looked more healthy and graceful, hardly surprising with his physique that he excelled at swimming.
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 21/Feb/16
Legit 6ft3, no less.
Daniel said on 11/Apr/08
I agree with that, Cmore. And about Mark Spitz, I thought he was closer to 6ft, judging from his body type.
Cmore said on 26/Feb/07
I loved watching his movies on saturday morning TV whe I was a kid and I remember seeing pictures of Weismuller with Mark Spitz in 1972 at the Muncih Olympics where Weismuller was in his 60's and he ABSOLUTELY TOWERED over Spitz who was 5ft 10inches. Tarzan was 6ft 3, and built like he grew up in the jungle. All other Tarzans pale into insignificance. I dont see anyone around today who could play that part 1/10th as well as Weismuller
larry said on 24/Mar/06
He always looked more like 6'4" to me and a hugely built guy.
Mr. R said on 19/Jun/05
Rob, didn't you have him at 5-10, even though his brother called him a shrimp at 5-9?