Born on August 15, 1936, in Los Angeles, Mike Henry began his professional career as a football player, not an actor. He first played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and later for the Los Angeles Rams. It was during his stint in football that Henry began dabbling in acting, first making brief appearances in television shows such as Cheyenne with Clint Walker. His first film role came in 1963, with an appearance in Spencer's Mountain. His next part in a film didn't come until 1965, when he was signed by Sy Weintraub to replace Jock Mahoney as Tarzan. Henry's first Tarzan film was released by American International, while his second and third were released by Paramount.

Mike Henry in PittsburghMike Henry with the Los Angeles RamsMike HenryMike Henry

LEFT: Mike Henry in his parents' Pittsburgh home in the mid 1960s. CENTER: Early 1960s photo of Henry during his stint with the Los Angeles Rams. RIGHT: Henry in his most famous role, as Tarzan. You'll find more photos like these in the Mike Henry Gallery

Henry made three Tarzan films, all shot back-to-back between 1965 and 1966: Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966; with Nancy Kovack), Tarzan and the Great River (1967; with Jan Murray and Diana Millay), and Tarzan and the Jungle Boy (1968; with Steve Bond). Mike Henry's first and best Tarzan film, Tarzan and the Valley of Gold, was shot principally in Mexico City, Mexico. For his second film, the production of Tarzan and the Great River proved to be difficult. While on location in Brazil, a chimp bit Mike Henry on his jaw line, which took twenty stitches to sew up. In addition, Henry became fevered from the bite, delaying filming for nearly two weeks. Although Henry was to star in the Tarzan TV series (the role eventually went to Ron Ely), after completing the grueling filming schedule in 1966 he called it quits and sued Weintraub for endangering his health and welfare during location shooting in Mexico and Brazil.

the films of mike henry

Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966)

Mike Henry and Nancy KovackMike Henry and Nancy KovackMike Henry and Nancy KovackMike Henry

From AIP's Tarzan and the Valley of Gold. LEFT and CENTER: With Nancy Kovack. RIGHT: Henry as Tarzan

Tarzan and the Great River (1967)

Mike Henry and Manuel Padilla Jr.Mike HenryMike Henry and Jan MurrayJan Murray, Mike Henry, and Diana Millay

From Paramount's Tarzan and the Great River, with Jan Murray, Manuel Padilla Jr., and Diana Millay

Mike HenryMike HenryMike HenryMike Henry

More stills from Tarzan and the Great River

Tarzan and the Jungle Boy (1968)

Mike HenryMike HenryMike Henry

Screen captures from Mike Henry's final entry in the Tarzan series, Tarzan and the Jungle Boy, filmed in Brazil. Steve Bond was chosen for the role of Boy; Bond later went on to make other films after he grew up, and he posed for Playgirl magazine in 1982

The Green Berets (1968)

Jim Hutton and Mike Henry

From the Vietnam war drama The Green Berets with Jim Hutton

Inside O.U.T. (1971)

Farrah Fawcett and Mike Henry

With Farrah Fawcett in Inside O.U.T., a pilot for a proposed comedy starring Bill Daily

Skyjacked (1972)

Mike Henry, Ken Swofford, and Charlton HestonYvette Mimieux and Mike Henry

LEFT: From the MGM disaster flick Skyjacked with Ken Swofford and Charlton Heston. RIGHT: With Yvette Mimieux

The Longest Yard (1974)

Mike Henry and Burt Reynolds

With Burt Reynolds in Paramount's comedy/drama The Longest Yard

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

Mike Henry and Jackie GleasonMike Henry and Jackie GleasonMike Henry and Jackie Gleason

With Jackie Gleason in Universal's comedy Smokey and the Bandit

Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983)

Jackie Gleason and Mike Henry

From the final 'Smokey' film Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 with Jackie Gleason in one of his final roles

later years

Henry's acting career continued after he left the Tarzan series. He had roles in Rio Lobo (1970; with John Wayne and Jorge Rivero), Soylent Green (1973; with Charlton Heston and Chuck Connors), and Mean Johnny Barrows (1976; with Fred Williamson), among others. He also acted in the entire Smokey and the Bandit series films as Junior, Jackie Gleason's inept son who is spurned by Sally Field on their wedding day. Henry also served as producer and production assistant for several films in the 1970s and 1980s. Mike Henry retired from acting in the late 1980s after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and chronic traumatic encephaloptahy (CTE). Sadly, Mike Henry passed away on January 8, 2021 at age 84. He is survived by his wife and daughter.

mike henry dvds available from


Outrageous Fortune (1987) with Shelley Long, Bette Midler, Peter Coyote, John Schuck, and George Carlin
Smokey and the Bandit III (1983) with Jackie Gleason, Jerry Reed, Paul Williams, and Pat McCormick
Smokey and the Bandit II (1980) with Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jackie Gleason, Paul Williams, and Pat McCormick
Smokey and the Bandit (1977) with Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, and Jackie Gleason
Mean Johnny Barrows (1976) with Fred Williamson, Stuart Whitman, and Roddy McDowell
Adios Amigo (1975) with Fred Williamson, Thalmus Rasulala, and Richard Pryor
The Longest Yard (1974) with Burt Reynolds, Eddie Albert, Richard Kiel, and Anitra Ford
Soylent Green (1973) with Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Chuck Connors, and Whit Bissell
Skyjacked (1972) with Charlton Heston, Yvette Mimieux, James Brolin, Claude Akins, Jeanne Crain, Susan Dey, Roosevelt Grier, Mariette Hartley, and Walter Pidgeon
Michael O'Hara the Fourth (1972) with Dan Dailey
Inside O.U.T. (1971) with Farrah Fawcett, Bill Daily, and Herb Vigran
Rio Lobo (1970) with John Wayne, Jorge Rivero, and Bill Williams
More Dead Than Alive (1969) with Clint Walker, Vincent Price, and Anne Francis
Number One (1969) with Charlton Heston, Bruce Dern, and Bobby Troup
Tarzan and the Jungle Boy (1968) with Steve Bond
The Green Berets (1968) with John Wayne, Aldo Ray, Jim Hutton, David Janssen, and Jason Evers
Tarzan and the Great River (1967) with Jan Murray, Manuel Padilla Jr., and Diana Millay
Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966) with Manuel Padilla, Jr. and Nancy Kovack
Spencer's Mountain (1963) with Whit Bissell, Wally Cox, Henry Fonda, and James MacArthur

Fantasy Island, episode Elizabeth's Baby/The Artist and the Lady, originally aired January 17, 1981
Lou Grant, episode Sports, originally aired January 10, 1978
"M*A*S*H, episode The "M*A*S*H Olympics, originally aired November 22, 1977
Rhoda, episode If You Want to Shoot the Rapids, You Have to Get Wet, originally aired January 19, 1976
The Six Million Dollar Man, episode One of Our Running Backs Is Missing, originally aired November 2, 1975
The Bob Newhart Show, episode Bob Hits the Ceiling, originally aired February 15, 1975
The Six Million Dollar Man, episode Run, Steve, Run, originally aired April 26, 1974
Temperatures Rising, episode Super Doc, originally aired March 20, 1973
The New Dick Van Dyke Show, episode The Needle, originally aired September 24, 1972
The Smith Family, episode Taste of Fear, originally aired December 29, 1971
Dan August, episode When the Shouting Dies, originally aired November 25, 1970
Daniel Boone, episode Bringing Up Josh, originally aired April 16, 1970
I've Got a Secret, episode March 29, 1965, originally aired March 29, 1965
The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, episode Getting Wally in Shape, originally aired October 16, 1963
77 Sunset Strip, episode To Catch a Mink, originally aired May 10, 1963
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This page premiered April 15, 1999.