His wife, Aline, died of complications from a stroke in 1989. He wrote "Building the Classical Physique -- The Natural Way". Through his Steve Reeves International Society Web site, he promoted supplements and powders with natural ingredients. He moved to Oakland with his family as a child and began lifting weights when he was 16 years old.
Mr. Universe 1950
Mr. America 1947.
Mentioned in the song "Sweet Transvestite" from the film The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975).
At the peak of his bodybuilding career at age 23, he was 6' 1", 200 pounds, with a chest measuring 48 inches, a 29-inch waist, and had 17 1/2-inch biceps.
Such bodybuilders such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno and David Prowse have credited Reeves as a role model for the bodybuilding world.
Often confused with, and is not related to, George Reeves, who played Superman on TV in the 1950s. While working on a studio next to the set where the Superman series was filmed, producers once threatened to fire George after an argument and replace him with Steve.
In 1949 director Cecil B. DeMille considered (and came very close) casting Reeves as Samson in Samson and Delilah (1949) after Burt Lancaster proved unavailable. Although DeMille liked Reeves and thought he was perfect for the role, a dispute between Reeves and the studio over his physique forced DeMille to recast the role of Samson with Victor Mature. After becoming popular in the late 1950s and 1960s, Reeves turned down the roles of James Bond in Dr. No (1962) and the Man With No Name in A Fistful of Dollars (1964).
He loved horses and was a great rider himself. Italian producers later found that to be an advantage, since Reeves usually did his own stunts in his films and they didn't have to hire a horse riding double for him. After retiring from films due to a shoulder injury, Reeves bought a ranch and took up breeding horses professionally.
He was a friend of "Tarzan" actor Gordon Scott, and recommended him for the role of Remus in Duel of the Titans (1961). The producers originally wanted Reeves to play both Romulus and Remus through some doubling, but Reeves convinced them that it would be more effective to have another actor playing Remus.
His voice was dubbed in his Italian epics. The only films where his real voice is heard are Jail Bait (1954) and Athena (1954).
His entire bodybuilding career consisted of 8 contests.
His mother was a nutritionist.
He survived numerous life-threatening experiences as a child, including being hit by a car and dragged, being thrown from a horse and sleeping through an earthquake as a child in Montana. When he couldn't be accounted for, family members found him sound asleep, his bedroom teetering on the brink of a three-story fall.
Took him 4 weeks to get into contest shape for his Mr. America victory.
Was of Welsh, Irish, English and German descent
Served in the Philippines during WWII, contracted malaria, and served his remaining time under Gen. Douglas MacArthur during the occupation of Japan.
Prior to its release, Ridley Scott's Gladiator (2000) was being referred to by some writers as the first "Steve Reeves type" movie in decades. It had also been written that Scott was amiss in not getting Reeves to at least do a cameo. Sadly, Reeves died on the very day that "Gladiator" premiered..
While filming The Last Days of Pompeii (1959) (a remake of The Last Days of Pompeii (1935)), the chariot he was driving struck a tree and he dislocated his shoulder. This put an end to his more intense exercise routines and caused problems in the following years.
He was reportedly diagnosed with lymphoma only six weeks prior to this death.
He was played by Michael J. Nelson in the episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988) that showed his film Hercules Unchained (1959).
He often criticized the use of steroids in bodybuilding because he felt that it undermined the health value and the challenge of bodybuilding as a sport. He once remarked, "Body builders used to come in all shapes and sizes. Now they all look like Arnold [Schwarzenegger]."
Almost paradoxically, Reeves' impressive physique prompted filmmakers to put him into a variety of "bondage" situations. Two such situations are cited in the book: "Lash! The Hundred Greatest Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies." Ranking 7th is Reeves' flogging in Duel of the Titans (1961) and ranking 24th is his flogging in The White Warrior (1959).
Though proud of his work as Hercules, he was always disappointed that his other films did not receive much recognition. He once remarked "I only did two Hercules films, but everyone seems to think I did ten."
Took up power walking (which combined swinging hand held weights in both hands while walking) in order to compensate for the damage done to him by his shoulder injury.
He was the undisputed king of the European produced sword and sandal/mythological muscleman epics. Although he became an international sensation, the core of his film career lasted only 5 years (1958-1963)and a staggering 15 epic productions during that period. Afterward, he made another "Sandokan" feature and attempted a film in the next big Italian film craze, the spaghetti western, before retiring from the screen.
Is credited by Sylvester Stallone for inspiring Stallone to work out and build up his body and later became friends with Reeves after he became famous.
Was offered a third Hercules film after "Hercules Unchained" but declined in favor of pursuing other roles.
Summer 1948, at Cannes, France, won the title of "Le plus bel homme du monde". This was documented in a French b&w short film with cinematography by Raymond Clunie and Georges Zaidler, with René Charrois as assistant camera operator and Jacques Verillon as technical consultant.
Although he was regarded as the "king of the muscle man movies," after doing two movies as Hercules ("Hercules" (1958) and "Hercules Unchained" (1959)), Steve Reeves turned down further Hercules movies and similar roles for other sword and sandal epics that had more substance to their stories.
Was crowned 1947 AAU Mr. America. Contest was held in Chicago, Illinois, June 29, 1947 at Lane Tech H.S., in conjunction with the 1947 AAU Senior National Weightlifting Championships (Olympic Style). In it Steve won a very close decision over 2nd place winner, future Pro Wrestler, Eric Pederson.
Steve Reeves's body was cremated and his ashes were specifically scattered in Montana, the state where he was born.
For his competition days, he is credited with being the first bodybuilder to go to a salon to have his hair styled as part of his "total presentation.".
He was signed by producer George Pal to star as Doc Savage in the motion picture that would eventually become "Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze" (1975). A prolonged writer's strike caused Reeves and the original director to drop out of the project.
He used his G.I. Bill benefits to attend the California Chiropractic College in San Francisco.
His appearance in Edward D. Wood, Jr.'s "Jail Bait" (1954) earned him his Screen Actor's Guild card.
It was reportedly an agent that suggested to him to consider acting.
In the heyday of his film career, he became the highest paid actor in Europe.
At the height of his European produced spectacles, he was reportedly the top boxoffice draw in over 25 countries.
By 1960 Reeves was being offered more Italian epics than he had time to make. Variety announced on 27 April 1960 that Reeves was being offered Judas, a forthcoming epic to be produced by Giuseppe Amato for Riama Film, (the same producer and company of La Dolce Vita (1960)). Like other projects, nothing more was ever heard of Judas.