Newsletters - 1998 - Volume 4 Issue 4

Classic Physique - October 1998

Steve's Return to Hollywood

 

Sandra finally arrived at her parents home, and they were very glad to see her. Steve called to make sure she arrived safely and was enjoying a pleasant visit with her family.

Back in Miami, Steve was getting his new gym in order. He had a new window sign made and, within a couple of weeks, was open for business. Things were fine in Florida, but not so in California.

Shortly after Sandra's arrival, her little poodle was hit by a car and died. Sandra was very upset over both the loss of her dog and being away from Steve. She called Steve and cried to him about everything. Steve told her in a gentle, caring tone, "You come right home."

So a few days later, Sandra sold the VW to her father and flew back to Miami and Steve. For the next nine months, the two of them shared their lives. Sandra wanted to help out and found part time employment right at a department store.

Unfortunately, the two discovered love was not enough to keep them together.  Steve's restless spirit kept him on a quest for further adventure. He spent much of his time reading books on Brazil and other South American countries, and thinking about starting a big cattle ranch down there. He dreamed of heading into the Brazilian jungles to carve out a huge spread for cattle raising. Sometimes he talked about riding with the gauchos in Argentina - he was definitely looking to change his life's direction.

Sandra was still somewhat immature and young and felt confused with all the changes in their lives; she couldn't see herself taking part in all these South American adventure plans and Steve's show business career. And so, the marriage was over. The Reeves filed for divorce.

Sandra went on to become very successful in the banking field and now writes several newsletters for government officials. She is semi-retired and lives with her husband on a picturesque piece of land in New Mexico.

Steve sold the gym to one of his members and decided to return to California to plan his next move.

THE RETURN TO LOS ANGELES

Steve and Sandra were both returning to Los Angeles, and since there were no hard feelings between them, they decided to drive back together. They parted ways at her parents' home in Studio City, California.

Several times over the next few months, Steve and Sandra would date each other, and even spent New Year's Eve together. Although divorced, they continued to enjoy each other's company and spent much time together.

Steve went back to work at Burt Goodrich's Gym in Hollywood. He also found a basement room to rent that was close enough to the gym that he could walk there. After a month at Goodrich's, Steve was hired by the American Health Studios as their new public relations person. He traveled throughout Southern California opening the gyms.

During that time, Steve made several guest appearances at different events. One such event was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, where both a beauty and a bodybuilding contest were going on at the same time. Competing in the body building contest was a forty-something body builder in great shape. It was Vince Gironda, who owned a gym in Studio City.

While Steve continued with his public appearances for American Health Studios, the wheels of fate were turning in his direction.

THE ITALIAN CONNECTION

Over in Italy, Pietro Francisci had written a script for a movie on Hercules. He and his colleagues spend the last five years looking for the perfect man to play Hercules. Francisci found some guys who were in great shape, but not tall enough. Others were tall enough, but not built up enough. Occasionally he would come across someone whom he thought would fit the bill, but they never had any acting skills.

So the search went on until Steve's movie, "Athena," began playing in Italy. Francisici's 13-year old daughter happen to see "Athena." For most of her life, she heard her father lamenting about his search for a Hercules. Then, up on the screen, she saw this great looking, well built young man. As soon as the movie ended, she hurried home, to her father and exclaimed, "Papa, I've found your Hercules!"

Francisci quizzed his daughter and they ran back to the theatre so he could view her idea of his Hercules. As soon as he saw Steve on the screen, he knew his search was over.

Upon arriving home, he immediately wrote a letter to the studio, asking them to forward the letter to Steve Reeves. He explained in the letter to Steve that he was interested in casting him in the lead role of Hercules, stated his terms of the offer and asked for a reply right away. Steve read the letter and decided he needed a couple of days to think about the offer.

What concerned him was how could he tell Ray Wilson, who hired him at American Health Studios (and later became the very successful owner of the Family Fitness Centers), that he was going to quit? When Ray hired Steve, he made a deal with Steve that he would hire him only if he forgot all about this acting thing, and Steve agreed. But how could Steve not take this offer from Francisci? He couldn't turn it down.

Steve wrote Francisci and started the process. In the meantime, Steve started growing longer sideburns, a moustache and a goatee. Ray asked Steve about it and he replied, "I look so young. I think it will make me look older and more distinguished." Ray agreed.

Steve found an agent to handle all of the details and a month later Steve received a contract, signed it and accepted the offer. He finally had to tell Ray that he was quitting because of a job offer for the Hercules movie. Ray wasn't very happy but he understood.

In our next segment, Steve begins his starring role, and we'll learn all about when he made this film and just what it meant to him. We'll also see how this event affected his life, and how his agent started taking advantage of him, and why he had to again ask Ray Wilson for a job and what he offered to do.

 


 

Also in this Issue:

 

  • SRIS News - John Grimek - in Memoriam, Report from 50th Mr. Universe Contest, Steve Reeves Mailbox
  • Pioneer Award to the Dynamic George Eiferman
  • Whatever Happened To? - Mylene Demongeot, Scilla Gabel, Jacques Sernas and Luciana Paluzzi
  • In John Grimek's Own Words - How Steve Reeves Trained for the 1950 Mr. Universe
  • Society Collectables - movie posters from around the world
  • Official SRIS Products

 

 

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