The Boys In The Boat: What Happened To Joe Rantz After The 1936 Olympics


  • Joe Rantz, depicted in The Boys in the Boat, worked for Boeing for 35 years after graduating from the University of Washington.
  • Rantz, who had a troubled childhood, was determined to give his five children a positive and stable life.
  • Following his retirement from rowing, Rantz had a long and fulfilling life until his death in 2007.

The Boys in the Boat tells the true story of the American men’s rowing team at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, and Joe Rantz was one of the student athletes that the movie highlighted. Callum Turner played Rantz in the 2023 biographical sports drama film based on Daniel James Brown’s 2013 book of the same name. As depicted in the movie, Rantz was a working-class student and rower at the University of Washington who was chosen to join the men’s eight team for the Olympics, along with seven of his teammates at the school.

Aside from Turner as Rantz, the rest of the cast of The Boys in the Boat included Joel Edgerton as Al Ulbrickson, Jack Mulhern as Don Hume, Sam Strike as Roger Morris, Alec Newman as Harry Rantz, Peter Guinness as George Pocock, Luke Slattery as Bobby Moch, Thomas Elms as Chuck Day, Tom Varey as Johnny White, Bruce Herbelin-Earle as Shorty Hunt, Wil Coban as Jim McMillin, and Hadley Robinson as Joyce Simdars. The entire eight-person men’s rowing team was featured in the film, which mainly centered around the University of Washington students preparing for the Olympics and competing in them. But Rantz was undoubtedly the star of the movie.

Joe Rantz Worked For Boeing After Graduating From The University Of Washington

After winning the gold medal in the men’s eight at the 1936 Summer Olympics, Joe Rantz continued competing in the University of Washington senior varsity eights and went on to win the United States National Intercollegiate Rowing Association title in 1937. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, Rantz graduated in 1939 with a chemical engineering degree and married his college girlfriend, Joyce, that same year. His degree from the University of Washington later helped the Olympic rower secure a job at the Boeing Corporation for 35 years.

Outside his work, Rantz and Joyce had five children together over the years. Since Rantz had a troubled childhood, as depicted in The Boys in the Boat, he was determined to give his kids a positive and stable life. His mother died when he was a toddler, and his father’s next wife treated Rantz quite poorly. His father and stepmother abandoned him when he was a teenager, and Rantz was forced to provide for himself and put himself through school. Given his rough upbringing, Rantz wanted to give his children a better life.



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What Else Joe Rantz Did Before His Death In 2007

callum turner in the boys in the boat

Following his retirement from rowing, Joe Rantz committed himself to a stable job that could help him provide for his family. By all accounts, it seems he worked for Boeing for most of his life. It’s unclear when he settled into retirement, and Rantz’s other adventures in life are unknown. His wife, Joyce, died in 2002 after 63 years of marriage. Rantz died a few years later, on September 10, 2007, at the age of 93, from congestive heart failure. So, all in all, following the events of The Boys in the Boat, Rantz evidently had a long and fulfilling life.

The Boys in the Boat is now playing in theaters.

Source: National Federation of State High School Associations