Born in Romania (then German Swabia) Petro Janos "Johnny" Weissmuller emigrated with his family at the age of four to America for tragedy to stike when his father died of tuberculosis soon after.
From the age of 9 he was a regular swimmer at Fullerton Beach at Lake Michigan. At 16 he was swimming at the Chicago Athletic Club and beginning to show real promise. It was there that he was spotted by his eventual coach, Willian "Big Bill" Bachrach.
The result of subsequent 100m training sessions was the historic time of 58.6 on July 9, 1922, the first ever sub-minute 100m. Weissmuller was barely 18 years old.
Over the course of his career, Weissmuller set 28 world records. His 1927 world record for the 100y freestyle was unbeaten for 17 years. This was a remarkable length of time during a period of rapid development in the sport.
Much of his success was due to his revolutionary high-riding stroke, flutter kick and head-turning breathing.
When his swimming career was over he turned to acting and became the sixth movie Tarzan, a role he played in twelve films. He is by far the best known of all the actors who have portrayed Tarzan and his distinctive Tarzan call is still much imitated.
Weissmuller had a stormy personal life. He was married five times.
Johnny Weissmuller died pulmonary edema on January 20, 1984. He was 79.
At his funeral in Acapulco at the Valley of the Light Cemetery, at his request, a recording of his famous Tarzan call was played three times.