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Gordon Mitchell was one of those perfectly developed bodybuilders who jumped on the Steve Reeves bandwagon and hightailed it to Italy to seek movie stardom as a Herculean strongman. Born in Denver, Colorado, but raised in Inglewood, California, Mitchell served in WWII and at one point became a prisoner of war. After the war he went to college and became a high school teacher, albeit an imposing one, what with his incredible physique. He eventually became part of the "Muscle Beach" crowd and flexed his way into the entertainment field as part of Mae West's musclebound revues, where he toured everywhere from Las Vegas to the Latin Quarter with other "abs"normal actor wannabes such as Mickey Hargitay, Brad Harris and Reg Lewis. Mitchell took a fancy to show biz and appeared as posing beefcake in such films as Les dix commandements (1956) and Li'l Abner (1959), which, of course, did little to advance his acting career. In 1961, after Reeves' Les travaux d'Hercule (1958) (US title: "Hercules") proved a phenomenal hit and revived the "muscleman" genre, the non-Italian-speaking Mitchell headed off to Europe and began appearing in the same type of badly dubbed sandal-and-spear epics. Adept at displaying both heroics and villainy, he developed his own core of fans, but when the fad wore off around 1965, Mitchell--unlike many of his colleagues in that field who just dropped out of sight--stayed on and appeared in over 100 more films, many of them in the "spaghetti western" genre, staying true to the country that made him a star.

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