Born Constantine Daniel Vafiadis in Shanghai, China, on January 3, 1938 (some sources list 1934 as his date of birth), Dan Vadis got his break in show business in the Mae West Revue, West's famous bodybuilder troupe, along with Gordon Mitchell, Mickey Hargitay, and Reg Lewis. After a stint in the Navy, Vadis took on his first film role in the sword and sandal flick Colossus of the Arena (1962; with Mark Forest). His friend and mentor Gordon Mitchell brought him to Italy to take advantage of the Italian fusto explosion.

Gordon Mitchell and Dan VadisRoger Browne, Dan Vadis, and Gordon MitchellDan Vadis, Gordon Mitchell, and Burt Nelson

LEFT: Gordon Mitchell, an unidentified woman, and Dan Vadis. CENTER: Roger Browne, Dan Vadis, and Gordon Mitchell lift Giuliana Zagara. RIGHT: Burt Nelson, Gordon Mitchell, and Dan Vadis clown for photographers (Photos courtesy of Gordon Mitchell)

Moira Orfei and Dan VadisDan Vadis and Rosemary DexterDan VadisDan Vadis

LEFT: With actress Moira Orfei on the cover of an Italian magazine in 1964. CENTER A: With actress Rosemary Dexter in 1965. Center B and RIGHT: Various photos

His first starring role came in The Rebel Gladiators (1962; with Alan Steel), and rode the wave of sword and sandal releases in Spartacus and the Ten Gladiators (1964; with Helga Line) and Triumph of the Ten Gladiators (1964; with Helga Line), among other films. When the genre died out, Vadis moved on to spaghetti westerns including Degueyo (1966; with Giacomo Rossi-Stuart and Erika Blanc) and The Stranger Returns (1968; with Daniele Vargas).

the films of dan vadis

Colossus of the Arena (1962)

Dan Vadis

From the adventure Colossus of the Arena, Vadis' first film

The Rebel Gladiators (1962)

Dan VadisDan VadisDan Vadis

Vadis had his first starring role in The Rebel Gladiators

Pirates of the Mississippi (1963)

Brad Harris and Dan VadisDan Vadis and Horst Frank

Shot in Yugoslavia and Croatia, Pirates of the Mississippi was Vadis's first western. LEFT: With Brad Harris. RIGHT: With Horst Frank

The Ten Gladiators (1963)

Dan VadisDan Vadis

Dan Vadis as Rocco in The Ten Gladiators

Hercules the Invincible (1964)

Dan Vadis

As the title character in Hercules the Invincible

Triumph of the Ten Gladiators (1964)

Dan VadisDan VadisDan VadisDan VadisDan Vadis

Screen captures from the film, courtesy of Jerry S.

Spartacus and the 10 Gladiators (1964)

Dan Vadis and Milton Reid

With Milton Reid in Spartacus and the Ten Gladiators

The Triumph of Hercules (1964)

Dan Vadis in The Triumph of HerculesDan VadisDan Vadis

LEFT: Lobby card from The Triumph of Hercules (thanks to Keith Butler). CENTER and RIGHT; Screen captures from the film (thanks to Jerry)

Death is Nimble, Death is Quick (1966)

Dan Vadis, Tony Kendall, and Brad Harris

Italian lobby card from the Kommissar X entry Death is Nimble, Death is Quick. Also pictured are Tony Kendall and Brad Harris

Degueyo (1966)

Dan Vadis

Vadis stars in the spaghetti western Degueyo

The Stranger Returns (1967)

Dan VadisTony Anthony and Dan Vadis

LEFT: From the spaghetti western The Stranger Returns with Vadis as En Plein. RIGHT: With Tony Anthony

Bronco Billy (1980)

Dan Vadis

As Chief Big Eagle in Bronco Billy

The Seven Magnificent Gladiators (1983)

Dan Vadis

As Nicerote in The Seven Magnificent Gladiators, Vadis' last film

later years

After making a number of Italian spectacles, Vadis renewed his career in the 1970s, appearing in a number of Clint Eastwood's most popular films, such as High Plains Drifter (1972), The Gauntlet (1977), and Bronco Billy (1980). Sadly, Vadis died on June 11, 1987, at the age of 49 after an overdose. He was survived by his wife, Sharon, whom he married in 1980, and a son and daughter.

dan vadis dvds available from

dan vadis downloads available


The Seven Magnificent Gladiators (1983) with Lou Ferrigno, Sybil Danning, Brad Harris, and Mandy Rice-Davies
Any Which Way You Can (1980) with Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Geoffrey Lewis, William Smith, Ruth Gordon, Barry Corbin, and Bill McKinney
Bronco Billy (1980) with Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Geoffrey Lewis, Scatman Crothers, Bill McKinney, and Sam Bottoms
Mr. Horn (1979) with Karen Black, David Carradine, Richard Widmark, Jeremy Slate, and Richard Masur
Every Which Way But Loose (1978) with Clint Eastwood, Ruth Gordon, Sondra Locke, Geoffrey Lewis, Beverly D'Angelo, Bill McKinney, and Gregory Walcott
The Gauntlet (1977) with Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Bill McKinney, Carole Cook, and Mara Corday
The White Buffalo (1977) with Charles Bronson, Clint Walker, Kim Novak, and Stuart Whitman
Cahill: United States Marshall (1973) with John Wayne, George Kennedy, Neville Brand, and Marie Windsor
High Plains Drifter (1972) with Clint Eastwood, Verna Bloom, Mitch Ryan, and Geoffrey Lewis
God Will Forgive My Pistol (1969) with Wayde Preston
The Scalphunters (1968) with Burt Lancaster, Shelley Winters, Telly Savalas, Ossie Davis, and Dabney Coleman
The Stranger Returns (1967) with Jill Banner, Daniele Vargas, and Tony Anthony
Fort Yuma Gold (1967) with Giuliano Gemma and Jacques Sernas
Degueyo (1966) with Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Erika Blanc, and Daniele Vargas
Death is Nimble, Death is Quick (1965) with Brad Harris and Tony Kendall
Spartacus and the Ten Gladiators (aka The Invincible Ten Gladiators) (1965) with Helga Line
Triumph of the Ten Gladiators (1964)
The Triumph of Hercules (1964) with Marilu Tolo and Moira Orfei
Zorikan the Barbarian (1964) with Walter Brandi and Phillippe Hersent
Hercules the Invincible (aka Son of Hercules in the Land of Darkness) (1963) with Ken Clark
Pirates of the Mississippi (1963) with Brad Harris and Tony Kendall
The Ten Gladiators (1963) with Roger Browne
The Rebel Gladiators (1962) with Alan Steel
Colossus of the Arena (1962) with Mark Forest

Starsky and Hutch, episode Hutchinson for Murder One, originally aired February 22, 1978.

dan vadis film now showing

Watch Dan Vadis in the 1964 film Son of Hercules in the Land of Darkness
Back to Brian's Drive-In Theater
Click on the logo to go back to Brian's Drive-In Theater
This page premiered April 25, 1998.
Copyright and Disclaimer Information