In "Mildred Pierce" (1945), poor Joan Crawford is saddled with a daughter from hell (Ann Blythe) and a bland, unambitious husband (Bruce Bennett). She laments, "I felt as if I'd been born in a kitchen and spent all my life there, except for the few hours it took to get married."
For Mildred's sake, I hope she got to spend some time in the bedroom too, because her husband was a former Olympic gold medalist, and one of the screen's most sinewy Tarzans.
Below, Mildred Pierce's husband with his clothes on... and off...
But that was his secret identity. By the time he appeared in "Mildred Pierce," the athlete born Herman Brix — who won the medal for shot put in 1928 and then starred as the ape man in 1935's "New Adventures of Tarzan" — was known by a new name: Bruce Bennett.
Frustrated by type-casting that followed his appearance as Tarzan — indeed he is hard to forget once you've seen him with his clothes off — Herman Brix dropped out of sight for awhile. When he reappeared, he had his new name and a new image - sensitive, intelligent, introspective, brooding, cultured.
To be fair, even as Tarzan, the articulate Brix was far closer than other interpreters to Edgar Rice Burrough's original concept of the ape man as an intellectual, swinging through the jungle by choice, while being fully capable of living in genteel society as well.
Nothing like an erudite ape man.
And his body never failed him: he lived until just shy of his 101st birtday.
Below, Herman Brix in the 1928 Olympics: