Mike Henry (American football)

Michael Dennis Henry (born August 15, 1936) is an American retired actor and former NFL football linebacker. He is most well known for his role as Tarzan in the 1960s trilogy.

Michael Henry
Michael Dennis Henry

(1936-08-15) August 15, 1936
OccupationActor, football player
Years active1957–1988 (actor)
1958–1964 (football player)
Known forTarzan films (as Tarzan)
Smokey and the Bandit (as Junior Justice)
M*A*S*H (as Donald Penobscot)

Football career
No. 68, 37, 53
Personal information
Born: (1936-08-15) August 15, 1936
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Career information
NFL Draft:1958 / Round: 9 / Pick: 100
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Games played:76
Fumble recoveries:6
Player stats at NFL.com

Football career

Michael Henry's football career as a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1958–1961) and the Los Angeles Rams (1962–1964) led him to be noticed by Warner Bros.

Acting career

Henry's most prominent role was as Tarzan in three 1960s movies Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966), Tarzan and the Great River (1967), and Tarzan and the Jungle Boy (1968) that were all filmed back-to-back in 1965. At the time, critics said the dark-haired, square-jawed, muscular Henry resembled classic illustrations of the apeman more than any other actor who had taken on the role. Henry turned down the lead of the subsequent Tarzan television series, which then went to Ron Ely.

Henry is probably best known to movie audiences for playing Jackie Gleason's character's dim-witted son "Junior" in the highly popular Smokey and the Bandit comedies, starring Burt Reynolds and Sally Field.

Henry portrayed a corrupt prison guard in The Longest Yard (1974). Henry played Sergeant Kowalski in The Green Berets (1968), Luke Santee in More Dead Than Alive (1968), and corrupt Sheriff "Blue Tom" Hendricks in Rio Lobo (1970). He also acted with Charlton Heston in three films: the football movie Number One (1969), Skyjacked (1972), and Soylent Green (1973).

Henry played Lt. Col. Donald Penobscot in an episode of the television series M*A*S*H. In another football-oriented role, he portrayed Tatashore, one of the members of the gang who kidnap Larry Bronco (Larry Csonka) in the "One of Our Running Backs Is Missing" episode of The Six Million Dollar Man.

Later life

Mike Henry married Cheryl Sweeney on November 17, 1984. After being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, he retired from acting in 1988.


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