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Samuel Burke (BBHS ’46)

Born: 1929,  Montreal, Quebec

Samuel Burke is a Canadian bodybuilder, swimmer, wrestler and actor. Burke was born in Montreal to Jack and Mina Burke in 1929. He attended BBHS and McGill University where he earned a degree in physical education.

Burke became a competitive swimmer after graduating from McGill and captured a number of “state” titles, including the 100 meter butterfly and 200 meter breaststroke.  Burke also played water polo leading his team to win the national championships.  At the 1948 summer Olympics in London England, Burke competed in the 200 meter butterfly event for Canada.

In the 1950s, Burke began wrestling under the names ‘Sammy Berg’ and ‘Mr Canada’. He was crowned ‘Mr Canada’ in 1953. Burke sparred with such luminaries as Primo Carnera, Antonino Rocca, Lou Thesz and Joe Lewis. He won the ‘World Heavyweight Wrestling’ title in the late 1950’s by beating then champion, Buddy Rogers. His match statistics are found on his website.

Burke’s greatest achievement as a bodybuilder was  winning the ‘Mr. Canada’ title.  He also won the ‘Mr. Muscle Beach’ title in the 1950’s. Burke has worked with nearly all of the great bodybuilders at one time or another.

 

In 1961, Burke began an acting career and went on to star in 20 films in the US and Europe. His most popular role was the mythical Greek hero Hercules in The Three Stooges Meet Hercules.  His filmography lists all the films in which he appeared.  Following is a small selection of some posters of films he appeared in.

 

His website contains a larger selection of images spanning his bodybuilding, wrestling and film career. As of 2009, Burke has been operating a personal training business in California.