Friday, 7 June 2013

1973, Deaths: Lex Barker

May, 11, 1973, Lex Barker, the American film star best known as the screen's eleventh Tarzan, has collapsed and died of a heart attack in a Manhattan street at the age of 53. Barker, whose full name was Alexander Crichlow Barker, was born in New York family and after a university education became a stage actor for some years before joining the United States Army in 1941. He served throughout the Second World War and rose in rank from private to major.
After the war he went to Hollywood and appeared in several films, including Edward Dmytryck's famous racial thriller, "Crossfire", before the producer of the Tarzan films Sol Lessor signed him up for the series in succession to the former Olympic swimming star, Johnny Weissmuller, Barker began with "Tarzan's Magic Fountain" in 1948 and with his blond good looks and splendid physique appeared to be a natural choice for the part. But his reign as Tarzan lasted for only four years and five films and after making "Tarzan and She-Devil" he was replaced by Gordon Scott.
Lex Barker as Tarzan in "Tarzan's Magic Fountain" (1948)
During the 1960s he had success in German and Italian made films. In Italy, he had a short but compelling role as Anita Ekberg's fiancé in Federico Fellini's “La Dolce Vita” (1960). In Germany, he had his greatest success. He starred in two movies based on the "Doctor Mabuse" stories (formerly filmed by Fritz Lang), in the movies “Frauenarzt Dr. Sibelius” and “Frühstück im Doppelbett”, and in 13 movies based on novels by German author Karl May (1842–1912), playing such well-known May characters as Old Shatterhand, Kara Ben Nemsi, and Dr. Sternau.
Lex Barker with Arlene Dahl (1951)
Lex Barker with Lana Turner (1955)

Barker was married five times:
  • Constance Rhodes Thurlow (married 27 June 1942, divorced 1950). They had one daughter, Lynn Thurlow Barker (11 April 1943-2010) and a son, Alexander "Zan" Crichlow Barker III (25 March 1947-2 October 2012).
  • Actress Arlene Dahl (married 1951, divorced 1952)
  • Actress Lana Turner (married September 8, 1953, divorced July 22, 1957).
  • Actress Irene Labhardt (married 1957, died in 1962 of leukemia). They had one son, Christopher Barker (born 1960).
  • María del Carmen "Tita" Rosario Soledad Cervera y Fernández de la Guerra (married 1965, divorced 1972).
Lex Barker as Old Shatterhand


  1. would like to read biography, but it is only in German.

  2. love watching and listening to Lex and Chris perform piano, singing duo sometime before Lex's death. A small audience is featured. Wish there were more clips like this

  3. How did he not know that he was not leagle divorced from his last wife.