Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Tor Johnson (b. October 19, 1903, Sweden; d. May 12, 1971, San Fernando, California) was a professional wrestler and actor. He is perhaps best remembered for his roles in a number of B-movies, including police detective-cum-zombie "Inspector Dan Clay" in Plan 9 from Outer Space. In the 1990s, he would gain a cult following on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 television series.
Johnson was a large man, weighing 300 pounds. He had a full head of blonde hair, but he shaved it to maintain the appearance of being the villain in wrestling and acting appearances. He wrestled under such names as Swedish Angel or Super-Swedish Angel. During most of his life, he was a wrestler. He began getting bit parts in movies upon his move to California - usually as the strongman or weightlifter - as early as 1934. His movie career ended in the early 1960s after appearing in a string of poorly-rated movies. However, he continued to make appearances on television and made a number of commercials.
A number of Johnson's peers had commented that he was a very friendly man and easy to work with on movie sets. Valda Hansen, who worked with Johnson in the 1959 movie Revenge of the Dead said that "Tor was like a big sugar bun." Johnson befriended Bela Lugosi during the time both worked with infamous director Edward D. Wood Jr., and legend has it that Tor saved Lugosi's life one night when the elder actor was about to commit suicide.
Tor had a wife named Greta, and a son named Karl. Greta was well-liked by Tor's friends, who spoke of the meals she used to make. Greta also reportedly did not care for some of Tor's film work because she thought it made him look like a monster. Karl eventually became a police officer.
As Lobo in The Unearthly
Lobo: Time for go to bed!
As Inspector Daniel Clay in Plan 9 from Outer Space
Clay: I'm a big boy now Johnny!
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details