As with so many actors who played Tarzan, Jock had an action-packed start in life, dropping out of university in Iowa to enlist with the US Marines at the outbreak of World War Two. He served as a pilot, flight instructor and even a war correspondent.
After the war he became a breeder of horses, but soon fell into the world of showbiz when he became a stuntman, doubling for screen stars such as Gregory Peck, Errol Flynn and John Wayne. If ever you've seen the 1948 film Adventures of Don Juan, with Flynn in the title role, there's a scene in the climactic battle where someone leaps from a high staircase. That's Jock, the only stuntman director Vincent Sherman could find to do it, and he earned $1,000 for the job.
Jock began performing stunts for movies in 1946, when he was 27, and actually remained an expert in stuntwork for decades to come. His final stunt credit was as the stunt coordinator for the 1981 film Tarzan, the Ape Man (starring Miles O'Keeffe as Lord Greystoke). At the same time that his stunting work took off, Jock also found himself cast in credited acting roles, the first being the Arizona Kid in the 1947 Three Stooges short Out West (actually credited as Jacques O'Mahoney, his real name).
|Jock as the Range Rider on TV|
Between 1958-59 Jock enjoyed his second regular role as Yancy Derringer in 34 episodes of the adventure TV series.
Jock's first involvement with Tarzan actually came in 1948 when he auditioned for the role following the departure of Johnny Weissmuller. Lex Barker got the part, but 12 years later Jock finally got to appear in a Tarzan film - albeit as the bad guy, Coy Banton, in Tarzan the Magnificent, starring Gordon Scott. Jock's 6ft 4in 220lb frame impressed producer Sy Weintraub, and the 43-year-old Jock was duly handed the loin cloth for July 1962's Tarzan Goes to India, which was actually filmed in India. The film unfortunately recorded a loss of $178,000, but this did not stop the follow-up from filming in just as far-flung a location, this time in Bangkok, Thailand, for Tarzan's Three Challenges (released June 1963). It made $1m at the North American box office.
|Jock as Coy Banton in the 1960 film|
Tarzan the Magnificent, with Gordon
Scott as the title character
But Jock's involvement with Tarzan in the 1960s was not over. He may have relinquished the role himself, but he did go on to appear in the NBC TV series, playing three different roles in four episodes between 1966-67. Jock's acting career continued apace, with roles in Batman (1966 and 1968), Hawaii Five-O (1971) and Banacek (1972), but during filming for an episode of King Fu called The Hoots in 1973, the 54-year-old Jock suffered a stroke, but made a full recovery (he plays a rancher who objects to sheep owned by the Amish-like Hutterites drinking the same water as his cattle).
|Jock aged 65 in The Fall Guy|
He was also an interviewee for the TV documentary Stooge Snapshots, which looked back at the life and career of the Three Stooges through the eyes and words of those who'd worked with them.
Jock made personal appearances at many conventions and signings in his latter years, but on December 12th, 1989, he was involved in a car accident in Bremerton, Washington, and finally died of a second stroke two days later, aged 70, at Harrison Memorial Hospital. Jock's ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean. On February 6th, 1990, a memorial tribute to Jock was held at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, California, attended by more than 350 people.
Trivia: Jock Mahoney married three times, but his second wife Margaret Field had herself been married before, and had two children by her earlier marriage - one of whom was Hollywood actor Sally Field, making Jock her stepfather.
Here you can watch an entire episode of Jock playing the Range Rider in the episode Old Timer's Trail, broadcast in 1953 and co-starring Dickie Jones, Elaine Riley and Sheb Wooley.
Mike came from sporting stock, like so many Tarzans before him. He played as a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers American Football team between 1958-61 and the Los Angeles Rams between 1963-64. In his NFL career he played 76 games, and racked up nine interceptions and six fumble recoveries. It was while playing for the LA team that he was noticed by executives at Warner Brothers.
Mike had actually been acting on and off for a few years before Tarzan came calling, having appeared in 77 Sunset Strip in 1963 and the film Spencer's Mountain (as Spencer's uncredited brother). He was cast aged 29 as the Apeman in three films which were all shot back to back in 1965.
|Mike playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers|
Following this mammoth production period shooting all three films, Mike was offered the role of Tarzan in a forthcoming NBC TV series, but the actor was disappointed by the working conditions, as well as the chimpanzee bite and exhaustion, and opted out (despite being contracted).
|Mike as Junior in Smokey and|
the Bandit II, aged 44
Mike also worked as a successful producer of television commercials for Video Productions Inc.
In March 2016, Mile End Films celebrated 40 years of the Smokey and the Bandit films with an 84-minute documentary The Bandit, which reunited old cast and crew, including Mike, Burt and stuntman Hal Needham. The film won director Jesse Moss an honourable mention for Best Documentary Feature at the 2016 Nashville Film Festival.
Mike was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 1988, at the age of only 52, and at the time of writing - July 2016 - he is still going strong at the age of 79.
A bit of fun: On March 29th, 1965 Mike appeared on the American panel show I've Got a Secret to announce that he was to be the new Tarzan. Here it is.
Ron Ely - at 6ft 4in tall - had been an imposing presence in films since playing a navigator in 1958 musical South Pacific, after which he also had work in The Fiend Who Walked the West (1958), The Remarkable Mr Pennypacker (1959) and The Night of the Grizzly (1966), as well as a number of TV shows such as Father Knows Best (1959), The Millionaire (1959) and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1960).
It was in 1961 that Ron made a breakthrough playing the part of Mike Madison in 18 episodes of the TV series The Aquanauts, about professional salvage divers making a living by recovering treasures from sunken wrecks off the coast of California. Ron's character was a replacement for that of Keith Larsen's Drake Andrews.
The Tarzan TV series depicted the King of the Jungle as a well-educated man who had tired of civilisation and decided to return to the jungle, where he was raised. Ron appeared as Tarzan in two seasons and 57 episodes, beginning on September 8th, 1966 and finishing April 5th, 1968, between the ages of 28 and 30.
|Ron as Doc Savage, aged 37|
The 1980s and beyond saw appearances in the usual suspects, including The Love Boat (1980/82/83), Hotel (1983), Fantasy Island (1979/80/82/84) and Superboy (1991). He even appeared in the French-Canadian-Mexican TV series Tarzan in 1992 as game hunter Gordon Shaw.
Between 1979-81 he also hosted his own game show, Face the Music, and in 1980 and 1981 was the host of the Miss America pageants.
|Ron in his late 70s|
In the 1990s Ron branched out to become an author, releasing the books Night Shadows in 1994 and East Beach in 1995, both mysteries featuring the private eye Jake Sands. In 2015 Ron announced he was selling his 1.5-acre Santa Barbara home in California for $5.195m. He'd lived there for almost 30 years.
Born in what is today known as Croatia (back then it was Yugoslavia), Stjepan Sipek - aka Steve Sipek - emigrated to Canada in 1959 as an ambitious 17-year-old, inspired to pursue a career in the movies by his idol, Johnny Weissmuller. He took up long distance swimming and wrestling to cultivate his 228lb physique, and his first success in acting was playing landscaper Carl Parker in the 1968 lesbian erotic B-flick Odd Triangle (credited as Steve Pipick), but it was the following year when the 27-year-old Steve landed the role of Tarzan... sort of!
|A 30-year-old Steve as seen in 1972's |
Tarzan and the Brown prince
Leaving Tarzan behind him, Steve appeared in a handful of other low budget productions, including the 1972 horror/ sci-fi movie Blood Freak, in which "only the blood of drug addicts could satisfy its thirst" and sees Steve transform into a monster turkey; 1973's The Sexiest Story Ever Told (you can imagine this one!); and October 1975's children's adventure Stevie, Samson and Delilah, which co-starred Steve's son, Steve Hawkes Jr. Steve also wrote and directed these ventures.
|Scenes from the schlock horror movie Blood Freak, in which|
Steve (left, aged 30) turns into a murderous turkey monster
|Steve pictured with one of|
his big cats in 1985, aged 43
On February 27th, 2012, Steve was arrested at his West Palm Beach home and two tigers and a leopard (some reports say panther) were removed from his compound due to a lack of federal permit to own such animals. Police claim this was actually his third arrest for such crimes.
Steve returned to the world of acting in 2012 for the $50,000 Z-movie 2056: Escape from Zombie Island, and its $10,000 2013 sequel, 2057: Return to Zombie Island. He played Tar in both films, and both films are atrocious.
Watch: You can see a 70-year-old Steve speak emotionally about having to relinquish his beloved big cats in this interview with the Palm Beach Post from February 27th, 2012: