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Nat Pendleton on The Cover of Physical Culture

by | Nov 27, 2023

Nat Pendleton was a fantastic college wrestler at Columbia University (team captain and 2x EIWA Champion, 1914-15) who went on to take the Silver medal in Heavyweight class the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium. (He was defeated by Robert Roth of Switzerland in a match that many say Pendleton really won.)

After that, Pendleton went to Hollywood and landed many bit parts and minor roles, typically thugs, gangsters, and policemen due to his imposing muscular stature. Pendleton stuck with it in Hollywood and rather amazingly, parlayed this into some fairly substantial roles.

Of particular note to those with Iron Game interest, Pendleton portrayed Eugen Sandow in the movie The Great Ziegfeld (1935) and another very Sandow-like strongman character (known as Goliath) in the 1939 Marx Brothers movie “At the Circus.”

Above, Pendleton was featured on the cover and interview in the May, 1940 issue of Bernarr MacFadden’s “Physical Culture” magazine. As you can see, Pendleton didn’t miss many workouts and his condition would certainly still be impressive today.

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