Mike Henry Dies: USC Footballer, LA Ram, Played ‘Tarzan’ And ‘Junior’ In ‘Smokey And The Bandit’, Was 84

Mike Henry, a USC and NFL linebacker and later an actor in Tarzan movies of the 1960s and the Smokey and the Bandit films, has died.

Henry died at age 84 in Burbank, Calif. on January 8 from chronic traumatic encephalopathy and Parkinson’s disease, according to social media posts.  

Henry played football for the University of Southern California and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1958. He moved on to the Los Angeles Rams in 1962 and was noticed by a Warner Bros. producer. subsequently He was cast as Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, in three films: Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966), Tarzan and the Great River (1967), and Tarzan and the Jungle Boy (1968).

His run as the jungle lord ended after being bitten by a chimpanzee while filming.

Henry segued into another franchise in 1977, playing Junior, the son of Jackie Gleason’s Sheriff Buford T. Justice, in Smokey and the Bandit. He reprised the role in the film’s 1981 and 1983 sequels.

Among Henry’s other film roles were appearances in Skyjacked (1972), Soylent Green (1973) and The Longest Yard (1974). His TV credits included roles on M*A*S*H, General Hospital and Fantasy Island.

No information was immediately available on survivors or a memorial service.