May 18, 2015
Duke Kahanamoku: A Life Devoted to Surfing and Men
He divided his time between Honolulu and Hollywood, where he appeared in 14 movies, playing a lifeguard, an Indian chief, an Arab, a pirate, and a "devil-ape," most notably as a Pacific Island chief in Mister Roberts (1955). Later in life he appeared in the surfing documentaries Free and Easy (1967) and Surfari (1967). He died in 1968.
He knew all of the athletes and beefcake stars of the day, including Buster Crabbe (top center), Wallace Beery, and Tyrone Power. He was a particularly close friend of fellow Olympian and 1930s Tarzan Johnny Weissmuller (left, the one with the bulge).
It ain't the waves you catch
It ain't the drugs you do
You'll never be as cool as Duke Kahanamoku
See also: Jack London and the Gay Surfers.