|Constantine Dan Vafiadis|
January 3, 1938|
|Children||1 Nick Vadis|
Dan Vadis (born Constantine Daniel Vafiadis in Shanghai, China 3 January 1938, died 11 at 49 years old on June 1987 in Lancaster, California, USA) was famous for his lead roles in many Italian films made in the 1960s.
Vadis (originally Vafiadis) was an American actor of Greek descent with lineage tracing back to the island of Chios in the Aegean Sea. This former U.S. Navy sailor and decorated NAVY SEAL was a member of the Mae West Muscleman Revue in the late 1950s. He was a brawny, handsome durable 6'4" man with curly brown hair, bluish green eyes and an affable demeanor. He was probably one of the most memorable actors in the Roman epic movies created in the 60's and early 70's to portray Hercules - the most infamous Greek warrior.
He was also one of many muscle men to take a stab at fame and fortune with the Italian sword and sandal films of the 1960s - also known as the peplum films. Noted film critic Raymond Durgnat famously asked if he was "the brother of Quo?". The peplum films (pepla plural), also known as sword-and-sandal, is a genre of largely Italian-made historical or biblical epics (costume dramas) that dominated the Italian film industry from 1958 to 1965, eventually being replaced in 1965 by the Spaghetti Western. The pepla attempted to emulate the big-budget Hollywood historical epics of the time, such as Spartacus, Samson and Delilah and The Ten Commandments.
The terms "peplum" (referring to the tunic-style Greek and Roman garment often worn by characters in the films) and "sword-and-sandal" were used in a condescending way by film critics. Italian director Vittorio Cottafavi called the genre "Neo-Mythology".
Dan's most notable role was The Triumph of Hercules (1964), in which Vadis portrayed Hercules battling golden giants and trying to save his princess love from her evil relative. The film was quickly followed by Hercules the Invincible retitled Son of Hercules in the Land of Darkness, in The Sons of Hercules television package by Embassy Pictures.
He died 11 June 1987 in Lancaster, California, USA, in a car in the desert (accidental drug overdose; acute ethanol and heroin-morphine intoxication). He was survived by his wife Sharon Jessup and his son Nick Vadis, known as "Nick V".
- p.71 Frayling, Christopher Spaghetti Westerns: Cowboys and Europeans from Karl May to Sergio Leone" 1981 Routledge