Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born in Glasgow, Montana, Reeves became interested in bodybuilding as a teenager, long before the rise in general interest in the activity. His competitive bodybuilding period was brief, but he won the following events:
- 1946 - Mr. Pacific Coast
- 1947 - Mr. Pacific Coast
- 1947 - Mr. America
- 1948 - Mr. World
- 1950 - Mr. Universe
By his own account, his best cold (unpumped) measurements at the peak of his bodybuilding activity were:
- Height: 6' 1"
- Weight: 216
- Neck: 18 1/2"
- Chest: 52"
- Waist: 29"
- Biceps: 18 1/4"
- Thighs: 26"
- Calves: 18 1/4"
Arnold Schwarzenegger's Encylopedia of Modern Bodybuilding states:
By [the 1940s] the distinction between lifting weights purely for strength and training with weights to shape and proportion the body had been clearly made. ... However, bodybuilding still remained an obscure sport. No champion was known to the general public--that is, until Steve Reeves came along. Reeves was the right man in the right place at the right time. He was handsome, personable, and had a magnificent physique. Survivors from the Muscle Beach era recall how crowds used to follow Reeves when he walked along the beach, and how people who knew nothing about him would simply stop and stare, awestruck.
After WWII military service, Reeves came to the attention film director Cecil B. De Mille, who considered him for the part of Samson.
Reeves first film was the 1949 Kimbar of the Jungle, made for television. He went on to appear, starting in the 1950s, in a string of Samson and Hercules-type (also known as sword and sandal) movies. His last on-screen appearance was in 2000. In that year he appeared as himself in the made-for-television A&E Biography: Arnold Schwarzenegger - Flex Appeal.
Later in his life, Reeves promoted drug-free bodybuilding and bred horses. The last two decades of his life were spent in Valley Center (Escondido), California.
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