Friday, May 8, 2009
Remembering Lex Barker
Born Alexander Crichlow Barker Jr. on May 8, 1919 in Rye, New York, Barker was a direct descendent of Roger Williams the founder of the state of Rhode Island. He replaced Johnny Weissmuller as the 10th Tarzan in 1949. During this time he also played the lead in several western films. When his Hollywood career came to a standstill in the late ‘50s he decided to move to Europe where he was still a big star. Being athletic and being able to speak French, Italian and Spanish he was very adept in playing leading roles in the adventure films which were very popular at the time. He met producer Artur Brauner and director Horst Wendlandt who immediately cast him in their new Karl May film series as Old Shatterhand. As a result he became one of Europe’s biggest box office stars, appearing in 11 Euro-westerns. He returned to the U.SA. in the early ‘70s and tried to revive his American career, but died on May 11, 1973 in New York City of a heart attack. We remember Lex Barker today on what would have been his 90th birthday.