"Some of the movies I did weren't bad," he recalls. "Some of them I'm downright proud of. But a lot of them were awful. I would spend two hours on-camera battling lions barehanded."

"I'm not embarrassed by it. My career was largely based on my physique."

"In most of my roles, I was required to take off my shirt."

"I jokingly referred to myself as 'The Hunk', but I never took it seriously. I considered my career a big joke. I never wanted to be Clark Gable."

Victor says: "I accepted the roles they offered and put the money in the bank."

"After all, it wasn't brain surgery, and I never lost my sense of humor about what I was doing."

Fans treasure an anecdote about Vic's sense of humor.

Once, during location shooting, he clanked into a nearby bar -- in full Roman armor. Patrons and bartender stared, dumbfounded.

"What's the matter?" Vic roared. "Can't a soldier get a drink in here?"

He has come out of retirement about six times since 1962 -- once to appear in a TV remake of his classic Samson and Delilah, as Samson's father -- because the price was right.

But that's a rare event. "Hell, I'm a lucky guy," he says. "My wife and I are as happy as can be. Mature credits wife Lorey with his recent happiness. Our little girl was born when I was 60. I came into fatherhood late in life, and I love it."

"I play golf five hours a day and spend the rest of my time with my wife and daughter. I couldn't ask for a more satisfying life. Leaving Hollywood was my wisest decision."

Golfing Vic in 1987


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