Image of Johnny Sheffield

Johnny Sheffield

Johnny Sheffield (born John Matthew Sheffield Cassan) was an American child, teen, and young-adult actor, his screen career lasting from 1938 to 1955. In 1938, Sheffield became a child star after he was cast in the juvenile lead of a West Coast production of the highly successful Broadway play On Borrowed Time, which starred Dudley Digges and featured Victor Moore as Gramps. Sheffield played the role of Pud, a long role for a child. He later went to New York as a replacement and performed the role on Broadway. The following year, his father read an article in The Hollywood Reporter that asked, "Have you a Tarzan Jr. in your backyard?" He believed he did and set up an interview. MGM was searching for a suitable youngster to play the adopted son of Tarzan in its next jungle movie with stars Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan. When he was 5 years old, Sheffield was taken to an audition where Weissmuller chose him over more than 300 juvenile actors interviewed for the part of "Boy" in Tarzan Finds a Son. In that same year, Sheffield appeared in the Busby Berkeley movie musical Babes in Arms with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, classmates of his at the studio school. He appeared with many other performers over the years, including Jeanette MacDonald, Pat O'Brien, Cesar Romero, Ronald Reagan and Beverly Garland. He played the childhood version of the title character in Knute Rockne, All American, perhaps the most prestigious film in which he had a role. Sheffield played Boy in three Tarzan movies at MGM, and in another five after the star, Weissmuller, and production of the movie series moved to RKO. Brenda Joyce played Jane in the last three Tarzan movies in which Sheffield appeared. After he outgrew the role of Boy, the teenaged Sheffield went on to star in his own jungle movie series for Allied Artists. In 1949, he made Bomba, the Jungle Boy with co-star Peggy Ann Garner. In all, he appeared as Bomba 12 times, more than any other character he portrayed. Sheffield appeared in his last movie, as Bomba, in 1955. He then made a pilot for a television series, Bantu the Zebra Boy, which was created, produced and directed by his father, Reginald Sheffield. Although the production values were high compared to other TV jungle shows of the day, a sponsor was not found and the show was never produced as a weekly series.

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Apr 11, 1931 In Pasadena, California, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie The Man on the Rock 1938-09-03
Latest Project:
Movie The One, the Only, the Real Tarzan 2004-08-22
Known For
Poster of African Treasure
Poster of Knute Rockne All American
Poster of Lucky Cisco Kid
Poster of Babes in Arms
Movie The One, the Only, the Real Tarzan Himself 2004-08-22
Movie Lord of the Jungle Bomba 1955-06-12
Movie The Golden Idol Bomba 1954-01-10
Movie Killer Leopard Bomba 1954-08-22
Movie Safari Drums Bomba 1953-06-21
Movie African Treasure Bomba 1952-05-06
Movie Bomba and the Jungle Girl Bomba 1952-12-07
Movie The Lion Hunters Bomba 1951-03-25
Movie Elephant Stampede Bomba 1951-10-28
Movie The Lost Volcano Bomba 1950-06-25
Movie Bomba and the Hidden City Bomba 1950-09-24
Movie Bomba, the Jungle Boy Bomba 1949-03-20
Movie Bomba on Panther Island Bomba 1949-12-18
Movie Tarzan and the Huntress Boy 1947-04-05
Movie Tarzan and the Leopard Woman Boy 1946-02-18
Movie Tarzan and the Amazons Boy 1945-04-29
Movie Tarzan Triumphs Boy 1943-01-20
Movie Tarzan's Desert Mystery Boy 1943-12-26
Movie Tarzan's New York Adventure Boy 1942-05-01
Movie Million Dollar Baby Alvie Grayson 1941-05-31
Movie Tarzan's Secret Treasure Boy 1941-12-01
Movie Lucky Cisco Kid Tommy Lawrence 1940-06-28
Movie Little Orvie Orvie Stone 1940-03-11
Movie Knute Rockne All American Knute - Age 7 1940-10-05
Movie Tarzan Finds a Son! Boy 1939-06-16
Movie Babes in Arms Bobs (as John Sheffield) 1939-10-10
Movie The Man on the Rock Napoleon's Son (uncredited) 1938-09-03