Jul 29, 2017
Karol Krauser, the First Superman
He turns out to be Karol Krauser, real name Karol Piwoworczyk, a young bodybuilder and wrestler. The Superman website and wikipedia give few other details, but I managed to find some newspaper articles about him.
At the beginning of World War II, he moved to New York and became a professional wrestler, dubbed the "Polish Apollo." His first recorded match is in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on February 24, 1939. By 1941, a newpaper article calls him the "popular Polish heavyweight champion."
He worked as a model for the Fleischers in 1939 and 1940, posing whenever they needed a muscleman, as in the Superman cartoons.
Most professional wrestlers retire in their 30s, but in 1953, at age 42, Karol and Edward Bogucki began a tag-team act as the Mad Russians, Karol and Ivan Kalmikoff. During the Cold War, they became popular villains, winning several NWA competitions.
Karol died of a heart attack on September 12, 1964, after a match in Salt Lake City.