Hollywood/Movie Celebs Who Had Good Natty Physiques Before The Steroid Boom (the time for epic articles has returned) writing what others won't

| by Truth Seeker |

The movie industry is focused on building fake worlds. Every single advancement in technology is gradually deployed to enhance the fakery.

The goal has always been to attract the attention of the visitor by showing something that is either extremely rare or doesn’t even exist in the real, common world. Then, that attention is monetized materially and spiritually.

To a certain extent, the fake universes are a marketing necessity. People aren’t interested in learning about the daily life of the local butcher who spends most of his days slicing meat and selling it.

At first, this wasn’t a big issue because people weren’t spending 20 hours a day in front of various screens.

But now that daily screen injections have become the norm for both young and old, the side effects of movie-induced hallucinations have augmented to dangerous proportions.

The physiques of popular actors over the years, somewhat ironically, reflect the principles above.

Steroids were already a thing in the late 1930s as I’ve exposed in an article that has been ruthlessly copied by many (don’t worry, content thieves, I forgive you.) But at first, they were used primarily for enhancing performance rather than appearance.

Truth be told, male action actors, the type with the highest motivation to inject, were natural (or extremely close to natural) before Arnold decided that bodybuilding was too narrow for his egomaniacal dreams and attacked the big screen. Directors welcomed him primarily for the “shock effect” as the guy clearly can’t act.

His movie debut was in 1969/1970 with the film Hercules in New York. Arnold’s physique was heavily “anabolic” already so I will use 1970 as the ultimate cut-off line separating natty and “half-natty” male actors from their 100% enhanced colleagues.

Arnold in his first movie

That doesn’t mean that every actor before 1970 was ultra-natty. For instance, people wonder about the status of Steeve Reeves to this day.

What’s certain, however, is that roid intake was nowhere nearly as popular before Arnold and friends appeared on the screen. So, if actors took something before then, it would be limited to stimulants (doesn’t matter for muscle gains) and early forms of synthetic testosterone.

Remember that at the time, men simply DIDN’T have a big incentive to inject. Their heroes weren’t the likes of Sam Sulek (a rich upper-class kid considered superhuman for pinning and lifting).

Back then, the educational system was on a higher level in the entire world, and the morals, ideals, and overall existence were operating on a slightly more sophisticated frequency.

I’m not saying we are worth less. But we are certainly downgrading and subjecting ourselves to unprecedented degeneracy that we wrongfully call freedom.

At the time, male actors were judged primarily for their overall behavior, virtues, goals, and appearance outside of muscularity. Of course, size in the form of “frame” was important, but overly big muscles were not only impossible to produce but also unwanted.

The directors always have to walk a fine line between shocking people with new images and respecting the taste of the era. You can’t force people to like something. They either do or they don’t. So, you have to ride the wave intelligently.

Let’s begin the analysis.

GEORGE NADER

source: IMDb | Nader showcasing an ideal natty physique.

The first physique that will be presented is that of the actor George Nader.

Nader (October 19, 1921 – February 4, 2002) was an American actor and writer popular during the 50s/60s/70s.

In many photos, he presents a decent natty physique that a lot of muscle fiber worshippers would, of course, classify as small in comparison to modern influencers.

Nader built his physique via weights and swimming. He was 6’1″/185cm and weighed about 180lbs/82kgs. Some people might say that he would need to weigh more for his height, but those are naive souls.

It’s clear as a day that he had an ectomorph structure (slim bones). Just look at his wrists in the images. They’re quite slim. I doubt they were 7 inches in circumference. When you have a similar bone thickness, your natural genetic limit is lower.

He also appears to have had a low body fat by normal standards, but he certainly wasn’t what the modern world considers “shredded”.

source: Wikipedia

In the image above, you see Nader in the movie The Female Animal (1958).

The film tells the story of the actress Vanessa Windsor, who is nearly struck by a camera on set but is saved at the last second by Chris Farley (Nader).

The point here is that at the time Nader’s physique was considered pretty good for him to star in that role.

Nader in the Female Animal 1958 showcasing ideal upper chest insertions.

It appears that Nader had pretty good upper chest genetics. Notice that his upper chest is almost fully covering his clavicle. This is ideal and a clear indication of favorable upper chest insertions.

Sometimes even professional bodybuilders don’t have as much clavicular coverage, but the sheer chest size that they have makes up for it. (If you look at some of Chris Bumstead’s photos, even his clavicles aren’t fully “dressed” despite his insane mass.)

Of course, men known for their ultra chest development (e.g., Arnold, Serge Nubret ), have 0% (or close to it) of their clavicles showing.

Warren Beatty

The next actor in the spotlight is Warren Beatty, most famous for the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde.

Believe it or not, I watched that movie some 20 years ago when I was yet to fully join the muscle construction world. And I remember the scene from the photo above.

“Good arms,” I thought at the time. I am not kidding. During the scene, you can also see his triceps somewhat.

I don’t know if he bulked up for that movie, but there are photos of him as a younger man where he is skinnier.

Truth be told, most average men can’t get that arm by doing nothing. Some lifting will be required.

Sure, brahs with superior genes may get it from hammering a nail or two to hang a painting, but I am talking about the mortals.

A pretty nice natty physique, especially when combined with a “Chad” face.

Beatty had an underdeveloped back in that movie, and that observation leads me to the hypothesis that he is a limb rather than a torso lifter.

Of course, it’s also entirely possible that he focused mainly on his arms. After all, even back then, arms were king.

Paul Newman

source: Pinterest

I first learned about the legendary actor Paul Newman from the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – one of my favorite movies.

Later, when I was already in the fitness game, I found out that Newman used to have a “slim-natty physique”.

The Slim Natty Physique (SNP) is the body that you acquire if you have a clean and mean diet and do a bit of training or sometimes none at all. For whatever reason, this physique seems more common for ectomorphs.

The SNP works fine as a nice everyday look, but it’s also a very good base because you can start bulking up in a lean state.

It’s always better to start a mass-gaining phase lean rather than fat as more of the gained weight will be muscle. You will also have an easier time knowing when you’ve put on fat.

Meanwhile, if you already have high body fat, every extra gram of lard feels like a drop in the sea, and before you know it, the sea turns into an ocean.

A guy with a similar physique can go on a specialization routine for arms, chest, or back and enjoy a visible difference in 3-6 months. Of course, your expectations have to be realistic.

Marlon Brando

Brando needs no introduction. Most people know him for his role as Vito Corleone in the ultra-popular movie The Godfather.

What many may be surprised to learn is that during his youth he had a decent upper body (especially the biceps and triceps) for a natty actor.

His arms were the most impressive when he played Stanley Kowalski in the 1951 movie A Streetcar Named Desire. 

At the time, Brando was 27 y.o. (He was 47 in The Godfather, for reference).

As you can see from the photos, Brando was relying on the “little brother shirt” method to create a large contrast between his arms and clothing. Who knows? Maybe it was the director’s decision.

With bigger/baggy clothes, natty muscles certainly disappear into the shadows.

Some natty triceps

His stats for the Kowalski role were:

  • Height: 5’9” |  175cm
  • Weight: 144 lbs | 65kg
  • Body fat: No super lean and not ultra-shredded – the shredded look was not a thing back in the 50s. Even bodybuilders weren’t that cut, apart from Vince Gironda and some of his pupils.

In his young years, Brando definitely trained. He did conditioning (rope skipping), some weightlifting, and basic gymnastic exercises on a bar.

In the movie The Men, which precedes  Streetcar Named Desire, Brando does some exercises like chest flies.

Arthur Jurado

Arthur Jurado was a real-life WW2 veteran who was paralyzed during a plane crash bringing him and other soldiers back to America after the war.

He also played in the movie The Men and had a leading role along with Brando. Before that movie, he had no acting experience.

The Men is a very dramatic film as it shows the struggle of men who’ve been severely wounded in battle.

In The Men, Jurado showcases supreme upper body development. Clearly, his muscles were built with upper body exercises only (examples like his destroy the “squat for big arms” nonsense.)

There are photos of Jurado from 1946, showing him climbing a rope. Thus, it’s logical to think that this was one of his go-to exercises.

You can also see that he had full-muscle bellies in his arms. That’s an indication of a higher genetic potential in that area.

Robert Conrad

via Pinterest.com

Robert Conrad is another actor from the 50s/60s/70s who maintained a pretty decent natty physique for a non-professional lifter.

He is most recognized for playing the suave Secret Service agent James T. West in the popular TV series “The Wild Wild West” from 1965 to 1969.

What’s even more impressive is that he kept training even in his older days.

When you learn that he was also a skilled boxer with 32 amateur and 5 professional matches, his physique becomes less of a surprise.

via pinterest.com | Conrad doing what looks to be behind-the-neck pull-ups

He did primarily boxing, conditioning (running), and calisthenics (pull-ups, rope climbing…etc.) to get in that shape. Weights were not the main focus and most likely he wasn’t training in a conventional bodybuilding style.

Clint Eastwood

You all know who this guy is so no need for a lengthy introduction. But what some iron samurai may not know is that Eastwood lifted weights since his youth and even appeared on the cover of fitness magazines.

As a teenager, Eastwood got some muscle development as well as “young dad strength” from working as a hay baler and lumberjack. Then around 18-20, he introduced barbells and dumbells to his regimen.

During an interview for the 1990 movie The Rookie, Eastwood is quoted as follows:

“It was all free-weight training back then,” Eastwood says from the set of The Rookie. “I liked lifting weights because I always felt good after a workout. I also liked to drink a lot of beer and I figured the lifting was a good way to stay in shape.” (source)

As a young man, Eastwood trained in the gym of the mega-guru Vince Gironda. At the time, Eastwood wasn’t treated as a celebrity.

Gironda said the following about him:

“Clint has a happy demeanor and a quiet charisma. I see him as a fun loving guy.”

source: https://www.theironguru-vincegirondastore.com/en | Eastwood doing pulldowns under Gironda’s supervision

For a long time, Eastwood trained one hour a day following a bodybuilding split (back and chest on one day, arms and shoulders on another + cardio..etc.)

His peak 100% natty stats were:

Height: 6’4″ | 193cm

Weight:190-200lbs | 86-90kg

Eastwood maintained a decent natty physique for years.

Eastwood is a good example of how a tall somewhat ectomorphic man would look after lifting naturally for a while. In other words, he was a hard gainer.

By modern criteria, he lacks thickness and size, but we all know that the current standards are based on unnatural “hormonization” that heavily increases the amount of muscle mass that a natural can carry.

Late 50s/Early 60s – The Introduction of Larger Actors 

Movies starring notably muscular actors began to appear during the late 50s/early 60s.

People can argue whether this was the case because of new training and nutritional principles or the commercialization of testosterone propionate.

Ultimately, it’s difficult to say with great certainty whether the actors who participated in those movies were simply more gifted genetically and/or drug-boosted.

In other words, the rule of the shadow pinner applies here.

For people new to the site, a shadow pinner is someone who might be injecting fairly low doses of testosterone that give a 10-30% boost to his physique) but don’t produce out-of-this-world muscles and greatly limit the side effects.

The problem with shadow pinning is that it’s 100% impossible to prove when done right. So, one should only mention it as a possibility and leave it at that.

Steve Reeves

Steve Reeves is the first popular actor known primarily for his physique which was considered the epitome of masculine physical aesthetics.

His muscle mass and leanness were unheard of for that era. Below you can see how he looked in the 1958 movie Hercules.

Reeves was carrying a lot thicker muscle fibers in comparison to the rest of the guys on the list.

He dwarfs them very hard with all of his muscle groups and has an ultra-balanced physique with zero weak points. Everything is in perfect harmony.

And while it’s not 100% possible to prove whether he was natty or not, I can confidently say that the average man cannot look like that naturally. Hate me all you want. And you don’t have to believe me.

Do your own thing. Follow whatever training and nutritional programs you want. Hell, copy Reeves’ routine if you want. And then, after a few years, come back and drop me a comment. If I am still here, I will reply.

Gordon Scott

Gordon Scott played Tarzan between 1955 and 1960. He invested a lot of resources into building his physique and was also coached by Vince Gironda.

Eventually, he became training partners with Steeve Reeves. His physique was also significantly larger than what the rest of the actors present here. Some sources say that he was 6’2″/188cm and 240lbs/109kg, but it seems a little too much judging by the photos.

William Smith

William Smith was a well-known American actor who had a successful career in the crazy world of Hollywood. He starred in nearly 300 movies and TV shows, demonstrating his abilities through a diverse range of roles.

But what matters more to us is of course his physique. The guy had the ideal male body according to many.

Can you guess who his trainer was? Gironda, of course.

In one of his videos on triceps training Gironda showcases his famous pulley movement with the elbows resting on a bench and says that it was the secret weapon behind the super-developed long head of Smith.

Larry Scott demonstrates Gironda’s famous triceps builder.

I’ve never done this movement, it’s probably cool, but I train at home and prefer standard overhead triceps extensions.

Let’s get back on track.

The question is whether a mortal can look like that naturally. I am talking about men with average genetics.

William Smith was 6’2″/188cm tall, but I couldn’t find a reliable source for his weight. Several publications say that his arms were massive – about 19+ inches.

I don’t think average men (or even above) can naturally have 19-inch arms in a somewhat lean condition even if that’s the only muscle group that’s trained. So, if that was indeed the case, I have to call shadow pinning at the very least.

What some people may be surprised to learn is that William Smith was considered a possibility for playing the title role in the movie Conan the Barbarian (1982) which went to none other than Arnold. William Smith was still a part of the movie, though. He played Conan’s father.

I also found a very interesting comparison.

In the photos above you see William Smith next to Eastwood in the 1980 movie La gran pelea (1980). Smith was 47 whereas Eastwood was 50 when the photos were taken.

These pictures indicate that Smith maintained a solid physique throughout his entire life. You can also see the undeniable difference between him and Eastwood. Smith was carrying a lot more muscle mass than his natty colleague.

In my opinion, many of Gironda’s dedicated pupils (professional or semi-professional bodybuilders) weren’t full-time naturals despite what Gironda says about roids.

How do I know that?

Gironda told me that without telling me. When I read his book “Unleashing the Wild Physique”, I was extremely disappointed to see that it was filled with photos of steroid pinners.

So, if Gironda was so much against roids…why didn’t he include his natty trainees like Eastwood?

I guess he either didn’t find them impressive or didn’t have enough material. In all cases, I will never buy the idea that Gironda was the epitome of natural bodybuilding and that his students built their physiques on a diet of secret exercises and desiccated liver tablets.

Don Howorth

Don Howorth (born in 1935) is another Gironda student known for his super wide shoulders. The difference is that he was a bodybuilder first and an actor second.

The photos above are from the TV Series The Wild Wild West (1965-1969).

When you compare his upper body to that of William Smith, you will see that the two are pretty evenly matched upper body-wise, albeit Howorth has an edge in the delt department.

Howorth himself never claimed to be natural and revealed Dbol use in an interview.

Howorth said: At one point I used 10 mgs a day, but then I started to retain a lot of water. We heard things about it but didn’t really know much. Some people said that it didn’t increase strength, but that was bull. I took 5 mgs of Dianabol for 4 weeks and my bench press went up thirty-five pounds! I noticed I recovered a lot faster and got great pumps.  But I never took any injectables.” [source]

Some people argue that he used more than Dbol, but that is not all that important. What’s important is that he is providing some honesty and clarity regarding the era (the 1960s).


There you have it, friends. A complete analysis of “movie physiques” before the “Tren Revolution”.

If you like similar articles, check the archives page of the site and come back later for more.

Until next time, 

– Natty

P.S. Some of you may wonder why I no longer have a YT channel. Well, I was banned. 10 days ago, I woke up to an e-mail from YouTube/Google informing me that my channel had been “terminated” for vague reasons. I am never going back. All NoN content will be available here only.

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14 comments

  1. John

    Great article! Regarding your YouTube problem, if you wanted to keep having video content, you could use archive.org to host your video, then embed it on here with a tag. I’ve done that for some tech demo videos I had to make a couple of weeks ago for an organisation that didn’t want to use YouTube

  2. Guille

    Nice work..thanks…you’re the best…

  3. Craig Stephenson

    Thanks for a good article. Charles Bronson is another who comes to m ind as having a lean rugged looking muscular build that was probably natural. There was also Sean Connery, but of course he competed in the NABBA Mr Universe and so was certainly enhanced then but drug free later.

  4. SamS

    It’s funny and sad how things change. Just saw recent pictures of Clint. I remember that to me he already looked kind of old decades ago. For example, one of my favorite movies is Unforgiven. And he seems old there (1992), and he isn’t really that young there. But still he has always looked tough as hell. Goes to show what happens when you take care of yourself, and of course what it is to have good genetics. Anyway, it makes me teary eyed cause the recent pictures of him at the age of 93 show his true age. Man, years go so fast. My hero is now REALLY old ☹

    When I was a kid Arnie and Sly were the dudes when it came down to movie physiques. It’s so funny and stupid how I felt those kinds of physiques were the thing, all the old timers looked pathetic, even Steve Reeves! Let alone the earlier stars. Nowadays I think the opposite. Used to laugh at Brando’s physique, but he had a great physique.

    When it comes to great physiques in movies and TV, Brad Pitt is difficult to overcome for me. Especially the Fight Club physique, which Truth Seeker has previously written about. Yes, I know, in the internet fantasy world we all can have a physique like that and blah blah. But I have yet to see one in real life. While reading this article I realized that Pitt’s physique in Tarantino’s movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood reminds me a bit of Clint’s physique in that black and white picture of this article.

    Another movie physique I really like is De Niro’s in Cape Fear remake where he is the infamous convict Max Cady. As a kid to me he seemed like a slimy bastard, which he pretty much is. But his physique didn’t really amaze me that much. Nowadays I consider that as a helluva physique. What I really like is that even with t-shirt on, he doesn’t seem like much at all. But without a shirt, I think he looks like a beast. Of course, the fake tattoos and acting makes it appear more than what it really is. One of my favorite scenes is in the beginning where De Niro is doing dips in the jail cell (apparently, he really did do a ton of dips etc. for the movie). And got to say that this isn’t probably even De Niro’s best physique in movies, I think he has delivered quite a few times, at least in Taxi Driver and Raging bull. But what really hits me in Cape Fear is that the dude was approaching fifty when he pulled off that physique.

    I just recently thought about the original Cape Fear where Max Cady’s actor was Robert Mitchum. If you compare his physique to De Niro’s physique in the remake three decades later, you can’t really see that big a difference. Just makes me think how Max Cady would look like if they did a remake today. He would probably look something like the dude in that Jack Reacher show 😀

    Sorry for once again rambling and digressing. What an article this is! I’m generally bad with comparisons or ranking things in order, but this has got to be one of the all-time greats. Just great stuff, thank you Truth Seeker, you truly are the man! And you give so much content into my life.

    Oh yeah, forgot to mention. Thank God that Arnold compensated his awkward physique in Hercules in New York with great acting skills 😀

  5. Christian

    Bonjour ouvrez une chaine sur la plate forme odysee. Cela serai bien.

  6. Trent Baloney

    Great article that it’s good.to read through those various actors as I was brought up on some of their movies.

    Funnily when I left high school (some moons ago) the physique of the day was Brad Pitt in Snatch/Fight Club. I remember Ed Norton in AHX fooling people as well. Nobody seemed to give a damn about lifting weights or anything like that back then though. I was a rare one that caught an interest.

    It shows how important being lean is on camera though.

    Some names I thought might have been mentioned:

    Charles Bronson, Clint Walker, Woody Strode, all who had documented training methodologies. There’s a great video doing the rounds about Clint Walkers home gym back in the 60s on YouTube.

    Would love a follow up series on this. Just look at the physiques of James Bond over the years. That slim natty physique would be ideal.

    There was just one small gym in my local town 20 years ago which was a hotel gym with tiny dumbbells. Now there’s 4 chain gyms in that very same town.

  7. Edu

    I loved this article, excellent work. I’m sorry about the YouTube channel. I was a loyal follower. A hug, man

  8. Gregory

    …and Mike Henry in “Tarzan”

  9. peketudo

    My father has the “dad strength”. And although throughout his life he has not fallen for any bodybuilding scam or lie(… well, except that the bulking plus some secret exercise can make you a supersaiyan), he still maintains that Steve reeves is natural. I believed him because I didn’t know a better teacher than him, but later when I mentioned to him about Steve’s dubious nattyness, even today he is kinda skeptical that Steve consumed roids. He just idolize reeves, has the magazines, the movies,etc Even today he continues to imagine that there must be a homemade formula to achieve his statistics. “his mother was nutritionist, thats why they know what they do” my father said. I thought “…also a biochemistry…” Who knows

  10. Killeroo

    Truth!

    Amazing article, both in a knowledgeable sense and also a lot of fun. Any plans to keep this theme rolling as an on-going series, ascending through the decades?

    I’m far from a movie/pop culture expert, but a few random thoughts if youre interested:

    70’s – would be highly interesting for your research here, no obvious candidates spring to my mind but based on your digging in this article I’d say you’d find some great and interesting entries.

    80’s – The glory days, 5 to 10 obvious non-natty entrants straight up (hint – three are in Rocky 4). What would be interesting here is identification of any other non-natty action actors who were active in this period but did not go on to be well known or achieve global stardom. Equally interesting for this period would be the natty entrants. Two of the biggest actors in the world would slide in to this category i’m sure, both younger and active during this period. Now that I think about it, one extremely famous natty actor (im pretty sure he’s natty, do your thing Truth) I had in mind could be classed as the polar opposite of Arnie, ie maintenance of a decent physique over decades, but not enhanced like Arnie was.

    90’s – would be a big overhang from the big name 80’s guys kicking on, a few new players on the scene for both sides (natty or not).

    2000’s till now – from this point on all I can add is two unique things – the move from guys raised in the non-natty pen (pro-wrestling) into film. And the start of a new trend in which temporarily not natty actors undertake a concerted blast for action (super hero) roles then, came back down to natty after filming.

    Note – I deliberately tried to not add names (a few non subtle hints here and there) but ultimately wanted to keep the door open for Truth’s choice

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      Very good addition. Thank you man. I can’t say with 100% certainty that I will make a dedicated article for the modern era. But it’s possible in the future.

    2. Fanofthesite

      You bring up spmething really insightful there with the wrestler to action star transition. Its almost like the wrestling feds are a farm team for b grade action wannabes all trying to be the next Rock.

  11. Ani

    Hi truth seeker. Regarding body composition, how effective is counting reps compared to counting calories?
    I mean, if i starve and do a Lot of excercise, Will I get leaner quickly?

    Also, I loved your old articles about corporativism, the evil of advertising, mind manipulación, propaganda and philosophy. Do you think You Will start writting them again?

  12. SamS

    One thing that came into my mind was that it would be cool to see this kind of article about the physiques of rock stars. As Truth Seeker once wrote, they often have kind of okay physiques (at least the old school stars, today many of them are actually living a healthy lifestyle) partly because of the addictions to different drugs etc. And when you only need the drugs, you don’t necessarily have to eat that many calories, which then is a baseline for a very lean physique, maybe not healthy, but some of those stars look / looked better than most of the gym goers today. One of my favorite rock / blues musicians is Jimi Hendrix and of him you can find a photo without a shirt and although he is very small, he had some abs. Just funny, I sometimes watch old concerts from 60’s and the folks that are in the audience high as a kite look fitter than most people today.

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