Johnny Weissmuller

(redirected from Peter John Weissmuller)
Johnny Weissmuller
Peter Johann Weißmüller
BirthplaceFreidorf, Temes County, Kingdom of Hungary, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Romania)

Weissmuller, (Peter John) Johnny

(1904–84) swimmer, actor; born in Windber, Pa. He attended schools in Chicago and the University of Chicago, and during the 1920s was the best all-around amateur swimmer in the U.S.A. After winning three gold medals in the 1924 Olympics and two more at the 1928 Games, he parlayed his celebrity in a career as a movie actor. (Hollywood publicists would later claim he was born in Hungary but had hidden this fact in order to compete for the U.S. Olympic team.) After appearing in some short subjects and swimming extravaganzas, he starred in 12 Tarzan movies in the 1930s and early 1940s including Tarzan, the Ape Man (1932); when he was replaced by a younger actor, he made a series of Jungle Jim movies. He formed a swimming pool company and continued to make occasional appearances in trash films.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.