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Tor Johnson Tor Johnson
Born: October 19, 1903
Died: May 12, 1971 (at the age of 67)
Tor Johnson

Tor Johnson (whose actual name was Tor Johansson) the big man with the big heart. Tor was born on October 19, 1903 in Sweden. Tor's parents were Karl J. Johansson and Lovissa Petersson.

Tor was married Greta Johnson. They had one son Karl Johnson (Karl would become a Police Lieutenant) born January 7, 1924 (Karl died on May 15, 1993).

Tor began his career as a wrestler in the 1930's and wrestled under the name of 'The Swedish Angel' and 'The Super-Swedish Angel'. Tor did some acting (all uncredited roles) starting in 1934 thru the 1950's, many times playing Wrestlers, Weightlifter or Strongman. Because of his thick Scandinavian accent he monstly went unheard. His large frame, bald head, gimacing face and animalistic growls is what the directors wanted from him.

Because of Tor's size (6' 4" and between 300-400 pounds) and his not so handsome features he started appearing in the rebirth of Horror and Science Fiction films of the 1950's. Tor joined up with director Edward D. Wood Jr. and made some of his most famous films like (1955) "Bride Of The Monster" and (1959) "Plan 9 From Outer Space".

Tor did have a longer Hollywood career than any of Ed Wood's other players, making films and a number of television appearances in the 1960's.

Tor Died May 12, 1971 at the age of 67 in San Fernando, CA of Heart Failure. He is buried in Eternal Valley Memorial Park, Newhall, CA. in the Whispering Pines section, #177 E.

Many of Tor's friends and 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. Tor's wife Freta had once said that she never liked to watch Tor in the horror films becasue it made him seem more like a monster and that was not even close to how he really was.

The face of Tor Johnson (from "Plan 9 From Outer Space") was turned into a mask by the Don Post Studios and is the most recognised mask that there is. His image also appeared in comics (by Drew Friedman). All of the comics depicted Tor acting like his hulking movie persona except in real life.

Tor Johnson was not one of the the greatest actors ever but, he did play his parts very well and occasionaly was able to add some pathos to his role. He left a mark in the Horror/Sci-Fi genre and should be respected for the efforts that he left behind.

Tor Johnson - Plan 9 From Outer Space
(From Plan 9 From Outer Space - Colorized version)

Tor Trivia:
  • The Don Post - Tor Johnson Mask is the most famous mask of all time.
  • Tor actually had naturally blond hair but kept his head shaved for wrestling and films
  • Karl Johnson (Tor's Son) also appeared in a few of Tor's films with him.
  • According to legend, Tor became close friends with Bela Lugosi and once prevented Lugosi from committing suicide by threatening to throw him out a window!
  • Tor being a very large man unfortunately had a tendency of shattering toilet seats when he sat on them. Because of this, Tor had a habit of stealing toilet seats from the hotel rooms he stayed in.
  • He revealed on a 1950 edition of "You Bet Your Life" that his weight was 387 pounds, and his hips were 60", waist 54", chest 62", biceps 22", neck 20".
  • Tor also loved his beer and would usually drink a case at a time. For desset he was known to often include gallons of ice cream.
  • If is thought that Tor was a distant relative of Swedish boxing champ Ingemar Johanssen
  • Tor drove a small foreign compact car that was not much bigger than he was
  • Tor was portrayed by wrestler George 'The Animal' Steele in the 1994 Tim Burton film "Ed Wood"

------------ Films -----------
(1934) Registered Nurse (uncredited)
(1934) Kid Millions (uncredited)
(1935) Some Class Strong Man
(1935) Man on the Flying Trapeze
aka The Memory Expert (UK)
Tosoff (the wrestler)
(1936) Under Two Flags (uncredited)
(1941) Shadow of the Thin Man (uncredited)
Jack the Ripper
(1943) The Meanest Man in the World (uncredited)
Vladimir Pulasky
(1943) Swing Out the Blues (uncredited)
(1944) Ghost Catchers (uncredited)
(1944) The Canterville Ghost (uncredited)
Bold Sir Guy
(1944) Lost in a Harem (uncredited)
(1945) Sudan (uncredited)
(1947) Road to Rio (uncredited)
(1948) State of the Union
aka The World and His Wife (UK)
(1948) Behind Locked Doors
aka Hinter verschlossenen Türen
aka The Human Gorilla (USA: reissue title)
'The Champ', a patient
(1949) Alias the Champ
(as Super Swedish Angel)
Himself - wrestler
(1950) Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion
aka Foreign Legion (USA: short title)
Abou Ben
(1950) The Reformer and the Redhead (uncredited)
Guest at Finnish-American Rally
(1951) The Lemon Drop Kid
(as Super Swedish Angel)
Super Swedish Angel (wrestler)
(1951) Dear Brat (uncredited)
(1951) Angels in the Outfield
aka Angels and the Pirates (UK)
Wrestler on TV
(1952) The San Francisco Story Buck
(1952) Lady in the Iron Mask (uncredited)
(1953) So You Want a Television Set (unconfirmed)
Supine Wrestler
(1953) Houdini (uncredited)
Strong Man
"You Are There"
The Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown(1953)
The Surrender of Corregidor (May 6, 1942)(1954)
(1954) "General Electric Theater"
aka "G.E. Theater" (USA: informal short title)
aka "G.E. True Theater" (USA: new title)
To Lift a Feather (1954)
Bald-headed Man
(1954) "Rocky Jones, Space Ranger"
Inferno in Space (1954)
(1955) Bride of the Monster
aka Bride of the Atom
(1955) You're Never Too Young (unconfirmed)
(1956) Carousel
aka Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel (USA: complete title)
Strong Man
(1956) The Black Sleep
aka Dr. Cadman's Secret (USA: reissue title)
Mr. Curry
(1956) "The Adventures of Hiram Holliday"
aka "Hiram Holliday"
- Dancing Mouse (1956) TV episode (as Thor Johnson)
Bandini the Strongman
(1957) Journey to Freedom Giant Turk
(1957) The Unearthly Lobo
(1959) Night of the Ghouls
aka Revenge of the Dead
(1959) Plan 9 from Outer Space Inspector Daniel Clay
(1959) "Adventures in Paradise"
- The Lady from South Chicago (1959)
(1959) "Peter Gunn"
- See No Evil (1960)
(1960) "Bonanza"
aka "Ponderosa"
- San Francisco Holiday (1960)
Busthead Brannigan
(1961) "Shirley Temple's Storybook"
aka "The Shirley Temple Theatre" (USA: third season title)
- Pippi Longstocking (1961)
Strong Man
(1961) The Beast of Yucca Flats
aka Girl Madness (USA: reissue title)
aka The Atomic Monster: The Beast of Yucca Flats
Joseph Javorsky/The Beast

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