An undeniable aspect of Rod Taylor's popularity rides on his broad shoulders.
Square-jawed, muscle-bound and hairy-chested, Rod certainly has had his share of pinup-worthy scenes.
This appeal was noticed early. A reviewer of the 1956 time-travel flick,
"World Without End," noted that it contains
the "best bit of beefcake in the entire genre." The images below come
from a scene, during which a co-star remarks: "Body
Beautiful here could run for president without his shirt and get elected."
So where did all those muscles come from? A variety of physical rigors,
it seems, including lifeguarding, push-ups, weights and hard labor. Not
to mention tennis, fishing and archery (click on images below for larger view):
As a teenager, Taylor was an amateur middleweight boxer
and captain of a surf club. He once described himself as a withdrawn, spindly
child who was picked on by other kids. "I got into amateur boxing in
high school and it was strictly a defensive measure," Taylor said.
"I used to get beat up pretty good."
the time he was 16, in the photo at right, it seems he had outgrown the spindly
stage. Click for full view of the Lidcombe
Congregational Gymnasium Club in 1946, with Rod in the back row.
In 1960, the pressbook for "The Time
Machine" described Rod as a 5-foot-11, 175-pounder who had spent
three years as a lifeguard on Australian beaches. Indeed, in a 1967 interview,
Taylor said he had joined the Mona Vale Surf Lifesaving Club when he was 16
and was made captain of a surfboat crew at 17.
In 1968, the pressbook for "The Hell With
Heroes" noted that Rod did 500 push-ups a day, in bursts of 100
at a time. The results? Click the images below to see for yourself:
Marco Lopez, Rod's personal assistant,
stand-in and friend during the 1960s described further physical fitness
activities while they were in France for the making of "The
To keep ourselves trim, we would without fail, each evening
after work, go to the hotel and jump into our tracksuits and have a workout
with a pair of dumbbells and a barbell and then a medicine ball. Every now
and then we'd take a five-mile run.
-- Rod-Lore fan club newsletter, October
hip-replacement surgery in 1997. An article in the Globe tabloid said Rod's hip had been bothering him for
some time, but the pain became unbearable after he was in Australia
working on "Welcome to Woop Woop."
finally busted out my hip after years of stupidity and punishment, but now
I've got a new one," Rod was quoted as saying. After he got back on
his feet, Rod went to work on an episode of "Walker,