Ed Fury, Bodybuilder and Star of ‘Sword and Sandal’ Films, Dies at 94

Ed Fury, Bodybuilder and Star of ‘Sword and Sandal’ Films, Dies at 94
Mar 2023

He played the warrior Ursus in three Italian epics after appearing on Broadway and in Hollywood classics including 'The Country Girl,' 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' and 'South Pacific.'

Ed Fury, the Muscle Beach bodybuilder who starred as the mighty warrior Ursus in three Italian "sword and sandal" epics, has died. He was 94.

Fury died Feb. 24 at his home in Woodland Hills, his wife, Shelly, told The Hollywood Reporter.

In 1953 alone, Fury appeared uncredited in seven films, including Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, Dangerous When Wet, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Island in the Sky and The Eddie Cantor Story.

Later, he showed up in The Country Girl (1954), Athena (1954), Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954), Hell and High Water (1954), Female on the Beach (1955), I Died a Thousand Times (1955), Raw Edge (1956), Bus Stop (1956), South Pacific (1958) and The Wild Women of Wongo (1958).

Related Stories

Cannes Names Spain Country of Honor at Marche du Film

Warner Bros. Discovery Renews HBO Content Deal With Japan&'s U-Next Streaming Service

After he auditioned for Joshua Logan and landed a role on Broadway in the 1954-56 musical Fanny, Italian film producers in the audience visited him backstage and signed him to a contract.

Fury appeared opposite Rod Taylor in the Italian comedy Colossus and the Amazon Queen (1960), then starred in Ursus (1961). He returned as the mythological hero in Valley of the Lions (1961) and Ursus in the Land of Fire (1963) and toplined another Italian epic, Maciste Against the Sheikh (1962).

"I believe in a healthy mind and a healthy body," the actor told Skip E. Lowe in a 1988 interview. "You see, this is what you have, you better take care of it, or it won't take care of you. ... You're dead a long time, you better have fun now and enjoy yourself, because that's what we're here for."

An orphan, Rupert Edmund Holovchik was born in Los Angeles on June 6, 1928. He became known to the crowd at Muscle Beach and posed for the Athletic Model and Bruce of L.A. physique studios and for covers of Muscles magazine and other publications.

Following Fanny, he worked for Logan on the big screen in Bus Stop and South Pacific.

Later, he appeared on episodes of Gilligan's Island, Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, The Doris Day Show, The Odd Couple, Columbo, Barnaby Jones and Fantasy Island.

Fury also wrote lots of scripts and songs, his wife said. She met him in 1955, and they married shortly afterward.