Joe Bonomo (strongman)

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Joe Bonomo
Born Joseph Bonomo
(1901-12-25)December 25, 1901
Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died March 28, 1978(1978-03-28) (aged 76)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Stunt performer, strongman

Joseph "Joe" Bonomo (December 25, 1901 – March 28, 1978) was a famous American weight lifter, strongman, film stunt performer and actor.


Bonomo was born to Esther and Albert Bonomo, Sephardic Jewish immigrants from Izmir.[1] As a child Bonomo built himself into a strongman winning the "Mr Modern Apollo" contest of 1921 where the prizes included a ten-week movie contract.[2]

He began as a stunt double soon doubling for Lon Chaney in The Hunchback of Notre Dame then playing a variety of roles. He lost the role of Tarzan in Tarzan the Mighty when he injured himself before shooting,.[3]

When sound came, Bonomo's strong Brooklyn accent precluded him from most film roles but he reportedly retained his fame in magazine adverts offering bodybuilding by mail order.[citation needed]

Selected filmography[edit]


  • Bonomo, Joe Strongman: A True Life Pictorial Autobiography of the Hercules of the Screen Kessinger Publishing, 2007.


  1. ^ The Taranto-Capouya-Crespin Family History: A Microcosm of Sephardic History,; accessed July 28, 2015.
  2. ^ Baxter, John. Stunt: The Story of the Great Movie Stunt Men, p. 82, Doubleday, 1974.
  3. ^ Schneider, Jerry L. Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Silver Screen Vol. I The Silent Years

External links[edit]