Death in Hollywood: Ed Fury, Bodybuilder and Star of ‘Sword and Sandal’ Films, Dies at 94

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

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 warrior Ursus in three Italian “sword and sandal” epics, has died. He was 94.

Fury died February 24 at his home in Woodland Hills, his wife Shelly confirmed.

In 1953 alone, Fury appeared uncredited in seven films, including Abbott and Costello Go to MarsDangerous When WetGentlemen Prefer BlondesIsland in the Sky and The Eddie Cantor Story.

Other plays: 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).

Fury appeared opposite Rod Taylor in 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 famously said. “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.”

MIGHTY URSUS, (aka URSUS), Ed Fury (front), 1961
The poster for 1961’s Ursus, starring Ed Fury as the title character COURTESY EVERETT COLLECTION

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: ImpossibleThe Doris Day ShowThe Odd CoupleColumboBarnaby Jones and Fantasy Island.

His wife met him in 1955, and they married shortly afterward.