Submitted by Phil Raschke.
Yep, it’s true, and he also played in the Rose Bowl, Won an Olympic Medal and went on to become a major Hollywood movie star. The man we’re discussing is none other then Tacoma native Harold Herman Brix. Harold was born in Tacoma on May 19, 1906. His parents were German immigrants and he was one of five children born into the Brix family. He attended Stadium High School and while at Stadium shortened his name to Herman Brix in honor of a recently deceased brother.
He graduated from Stadium in 1924 and then attended the University of Washington majoring in economics. Athletic and 6’ 3” inches tall he soon became a track and field star in addition to playing tackle on the 1926 Rose Bowl football team. After graduating from UW he attended the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam where he won a Silver Medal in Shot Put.
1929 found Brix in Los Angeles for an athletic event where he became friends with movie star Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Fairbanks got Brix a screen test at Paramount Pictures where he was cast in a football movie titled “Touchdown”. He was also cast in the upcoming film “Tarzan the Ape Man” based on the writings of Edgar Rice Burroughs with noted director W.S. Van Dyke at the helm. Van Dyke had lived in Tacoma during his early years and is still remembered today as the director of the classic Tacoma film “Eye of the Totem”. Brix, however, broke his shoulder during filming of “Touchdown” and the Tarzan part was re-cast with Johnny Weissmuller who became a major star based on his portrayal of Tarzan.
Luckily, a second Tarzan film project came Brix’s way when he was cast in a 12-part serial titled “The New Adventures of Tarzan” co-sponsored by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Sixteen more films followed, but most of them were B status films. In 1939 Brix took a career break, did a stint in the Navy, changed his name to Bruce Bennett and gave Hollywood a second try. It worked and Bennett continued to work in Hollywood for the next 40 years starring in such box office smashes “Sahara” with Humphrey Bogart, “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” also with Bogart, “Dark Passages” with Lauren Bacall, “Strategic Air Command” with James Stewart and many more.