This week, I am remembering Trojans who died in 2021.
It’s worth noting that that first two (Steve Riley, Mike Henry) did not receive any mention from USC upon their deaths.
Mike Henry was attending Bell High School when he was noticed by another Trojan great (John Ferraro), who arranged for him to get a tryout at USC.
He was co-captain of the 1957 USC football team, and died on Jan. 8. He was 84.
Henry died from chronic traumatic encephalopathy and Parkinson’s disease, according to published reports.
Henry also played in the NFL from 1959-64 with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Rams.
Henry was USC’s lineman of the year in 1957, with 38 tackles (19 solo) after he played at Bell.
But he was better known as an actor, especially when he played Tarzan in Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966), Tarzan and the Great River (1967) and Tarzan and the Jungle Boy (1968).
He also enjoyed fame for his role playing Junior, the son of Jackie Gleason’s Sheriff Buford T. Justice, in Smokey and the Bandit (1977).
My USC story involving Henry was that everyone was afraid to play against him in the 1961 spring football game when he played for the alumni team.
Hal Bedsole, who is in the College Football Hall of Fame, told me he played quarterback for one play and got crunched by Marlin McKeever and Henry. Two weeks later, he was in severe pain and an X-ray revealed he had three holes in his stomach. He underwent surgery that night.