His childhood was spent in poverty and when one of his teachers noticed that he wasn’t eating lunch, she began bringing an extra sack lunch for him. When he became famous and would perform near his hometown, his teacher always received tickets to attend his performances.
He worked as a representative for the Douglas Aircraft Corporation in Southern California before embarking on his singing and acting career.
After overhearing him sing, his landlady suggested he take vocal lessons.
Esther Williams gave his daughter swimming lessons.
He was the original choice to play the Don Lockwood in Singin' in the Rain.
Due to his huge size, many of his petite leading ladies had to stand on boxes to be in the same frame.
In later years, he had a recurring role on Dallas.