(Adapted from: "Steve Reeves: Bodybuilding's Perennial Star" by David Chapman)
It's not easy being a god; Steve Reeves should know. In his most famous cinematic role as Hercules, he had to be gored, pummeled, stabbed, and crushed, but like a true immortal, Steve always emerged from these disasters looking as handsome and muscular as before.
Despite his divine destiny, Reeves began life about as far from Mount Olympus and the ancient gods as it was possible to get. Glasgow, Montana is a small town a few miles from the Canadian border, where the northern plains stretch for miles in every direction. It was there on January 21, 1926 that Steve Reeves was born. Steve is a descendent of a combination of Welsh, Irish, German and English heritage.
Many people have asked me why and when Steve got into bodybuilding. What motivated him to take that direction in his life? Well, it's somewhat complex and it happened over a period of many years.
Steve's father Lester died when Steve was only 18 months old. Goldie, Steve's mother would tell her young son what a great man his father was and what great shape he was always in. Steve's father was a rancher and was always in great shape. This left an enduring impression on Steve, I believe.
In addition, Steve's mother was an excellent cook and nutritionist, which gave him the foundation on proper foods and nutrition.
World War II put a temporary halt to Steve's bodybuilding, for as soon as he graduated from high school he joined the Army. On September 12, 1944 Steve reported to the Presidio of Monterey, California for induction into the Army.
After taking his oath of allegiance, he boarded a bus for Camp Roberts, which is located between San Francisco and Los Angeles, approximately 15 miles north of Paso Robles, California.
Steve did not escape the notice of filmmakers. One of the first to contact the young bodybuilder, fresh from his win at 1947 Mr. America contest, was Cecil B. De Mille, the famous director of screen epics. He needed someone to play the Biblical hero Samson in his next extravaganza, and Steve seemed just the one for the job.
As time went on Steve did not play Samson but it did give a chance to see what it was going to be like in the film industry.
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