Joe Lara, ‘Tarzan: The Epic Adventures’ Star, Dies at 58

Actor and his wife were among those killed in a plane crash on Saturday

Joe Lara Tarzan obit

Joe Lara, who starred as the titular king of the jungle in the TV series “Tarzan: The Epic Adventures,” has died at 58. Lara and his wife Gwen were among seven people killed in a small plane crash on Saturday.

The pair, along with friends and family, were flying in a Cessna C501 when it crashed into Percy Priest Lake near Smyrna, Tennessee, after taking off from a nearby airport around11 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Though Rutherford County rescue crews were at the scene of the crash late Saturday and planned to work through the night, Rutherford County Fire Rescue Capt. Joshua Sanders said at a news conference that there were no survivors. Cause of the crash is being investigated.

“Our efforts have transitioned from a rescue effort to that of a recovery effort. … We are no longer … looking for live victims at this point,” Sanders said.

Lara was born in San Diego on Oct. 2, 1962, and began his acting career as a model. In 1989, he scored the lead role of Tarzan in CBS’ television movie “Tarzan in Manhattan,” which led to him reprising the role in the syndicated series “Tarzan: The Epic Adventures” in 1996 and 1997. He also served as a producer on that series.

Lara was also part of a series based on another iconic man, “Conan,” where he played Kamikon, an ultimate warrior sent to destroy Conan. He also appeared as Frank Randall in an episode of the hit series “Baywatch” and the series “The Magnificent Seven” and the TV movie “Operation Delta Force.”

Beyond his appearance on the small screen, Lara also appeared in such action movies as “Sunset Heat” (1992), “American Cyborg: Steel Warrior” (1993) and “Doomsdayer” (2000).

In 2018, Lara married author and diet guru Gwen Shamblin Lara, who founded the faith-based Weigh Down Workshop and the Remnant Fellowship Church. He and his wife lived in Brentwood, Tennessee. They are survived by Joe Lara’s daughter, Liana.


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