Dolph Lundgren in 2012

Dolph Lundgren loves the Costa del Sol (Copyright: Gage Skidmore)

There’s been a lot of apocryphal reporting of Dolph Lundgren over the years. His action-star stature and frightening intellect have given journalists free rein to wax lyrical about the actor’s abilities for decades.

There are a number of urban legends attributed to Lundgren, but – as is often the case with characters of such legendary status – the truth is often far more impressive and unreal than anything concocted in the newsrooms of the world.

For example, it is indeed true that in May 2009 three masked burglars who had unwittingly broken into Dolph Lundgren’s Marbella home and tied up his (now estranged) wife Qviberg fled when they saw a family photo bearing Lundgren’s chiseled visage glowering out at them from the mantelpiece.

Why were they so frightened, you may ask?

It might have something to do with the fact that Lundgren stands 6ft 5 inches, or that his fighting weight is 110 kg. And it probably has a lot to do with the fact that he’s a former European karate champion and a master black belt in the art of the deadly Kyokushin kaikan karate.

In fact, during filming for Rocky IV when Lundgren played Soviet super villain Ivan Drago, he punched Sylvester Stallone so hard that he had to spend nine days in intensive care. Talk about a Sly dig.

Lundgren is not your typical cosseted Hollywood star. He first found his way into showbiz after working as a bodyguard for Grace Jones, and has since starred in more than 40 action films.

His recent appearances in the Expendables and the Expendables 2, allied with the breakdown of his marriage in 2011 means he now spends most of his time in LA, rather than Marbella.

His soft spot for the Costa del Sol perpetuates, though. Lundgren has previously stated in interviews that the Spanish lifestyle and climate is ideal for raising a family, and was the main reason he settled here when his children were born.

Lundgren as Ivan Drago in Rocky IV

Lundgren as Ivan Drago in Rocky IV

He appreciates the privacy, the beauty and the facilities that the Costa del Sol offers – facilities that include British International Schools for his two daughters, top-class gyms for his fitness training, and – that one unfortunate breaking-in incident aside – a secure and luxurious home tucked away in the hills behind Marbella.

You won’t see Dolph Lundgren strolling around Nueva Andalucía or Puerto Banús with as much regularity as before, but if he is in town then it’s generally hard to miss him. A giant both on screen and off it, Lundgren’s status as one of Hollywood’s greatest ever action stars is secure.

What’s more, his reputation as a dedicated, intelligent, multilingual and committed family man is well-known here on the Costa del Sol, where his sprinkling of stardust has added a certain validity to Marbella’s magic for the past few years.