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Lex Barker

lex barker, lex barker cheryl crane
Alexander Crichlow "Lex" Barker Jr May 8, 1919 – May 11, 1973 was an American actor best known for playing Tarzan of the Apes and leading characters from Karl May's novels1


  • 1 Youth
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Personal life
  • 4 Death
  • 5 Filmography
  • 6 Discography
  • 7 See also
  • 8 References
  • 9 Sources
  • 10 External links


Alexander Crichlow Barker, Jr was born on May 8, 1919 in Rye, New York He was the second child of Alexander Crichlow Barker, Sr, a wealthy Canadian-born building contractor,2 and his American wife, the former Marion Thornton Beals3

His father later worked as a stockbroker Barker had an elder sister, Frederica Amelia "Freddie" Barlow 1917–1980 She was married three times, to Frederic Clifton Soldwedel, Richard Neuhaufer, and Robert Henry Schlesinger Raised in New York City and Port Chester, New York, Lex Barker attended the Fessenden School and graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy He played football as well as the oboe He attended Princeton University, but dropped out to join a theatrical stock company, much to the chagrin of his family


Barker made it to Broadway once, in a small role in a short run of Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor in 19384 He also had a small role in Orson Welles's disastrous Five Kings, which met with so many problems in Boston and Philadelphia that it never made it into New York City5

In February 1941, ten months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Barker left his fledgling acting career and enlisted in the US Army He rose to the rank of major during the war6 He was wounded in action in the head and leg fighting in Sicily

Back in the USA, he recuperated at an Arkansas military hospital, then upon his discharge from service, traveled to Los Angeles Within a short time, he landed a small role in his first film, Doll Face 1945 A string of small roles followed, the best of which was as Emmett Dalton in the Western Return of the Bad Men 1948 Barker soon found the role that would bring him famecitation needed

In Tarzan's Magic Fountain 1949, Barker became the tenth official Tarzan of the movies His blond, handsome, and intelligent appearance, as well as his athletic, now 6'4" frame, helped make him popular in the role Johnny Weissmuller had made his own for sixteen years Barker made only five Tarzan films, but he remains one of the actors best known for the role In 1957, as he found it harder to find work in American films, Barker moved to Europe he spoke French, Italian, Spanish, and some German, where he found popularity and starred in over 40 European films, including two movies based on the novels by Italian author Emilio Salgari 1862–1911 In Italy, he also 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 There he starred in two movies based on the "Doctor Mabuse" stories formerly filmed by Fritz Lang, in the movies Frauenarzt Dr Sibelius de and Frühstück im Doppelbett, and in 12 movies based on novels by German author Karl May 1842–1912, playing such well-known May characters as Old Shatterhand seven movies, Kara Ben Nemsi three movies, and Dr Karl Sternau two movies

In 1966, Barker was awarded the "Bambi Award" as "Best Foreign Actor" in Germany, where he was a major, very popular, star He even recorded two songs in German: "Ich bin morgen auf dem Weg zu dir" "I'll be on the way to you tomorrow", composed by Martin Böttcher, the composer of some of the soundtracks of the Karl May movies and "Mädchen in Samt und Seide" "Girl in Silk and Velvet", composed by Werner Scharfenberger He returned to the United States occasionally and made a handful of guest appearances on American television episodes, but Europe, and especially Germany, was his professional home for the remainder of his life

Personal lifeedit

Barker was married five times:

  • Constance Rhodes Thurlow 1918-1975 married June 27, 1942–divorced 1950 She was a daughter of Leon Rhodes Thurlow, a vice president of the Decorated Metal Manufacturing Company7 They had one daughter, Lynn Thurlow Barker April 11, 1943 – 2010 and a son, Alexander "Zan" Crichlow Barker III March 25, 1947 – October 2, 2012 In 1952 Constance Barker married her second husband, John Lawrence Adams, a descendant of John Quincy Adams7
  • Actress Arlene Dahl married 1951–divorced 1952
  • Actress Lana Turner married September 8, 1953–divorced July 22, 1957 In Detour: A Hollywood Tragedy - My Life With Lana Turner, My Mother 1988, written by Turner's daughter Cheryl Crane, Crane claimed Barker repeatedly molested and raped her from the ages of 10 to 13, and that it was after she informed her mother of this that they divorced Turner ordered him out of the house at gunpoint the morning after she learned of this
  • Irene Labhardt married 1957–suicide in 1962, a Swiss actress They had one son, Christopher born 1960, who became an actor and singer
  • Tita Cervera married 1965–divorced 1972, although divorce not deemed legally valid Voted Miss Spain in 1962, Tita Barker later became the wife of movie producer Espartaco Santoni in 1975 the marriage turned out to be bigamous and later still, in 1985, the fifth and final wife of billionaire art collector Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza


Barker died three days after his 54th birthday, on May 11, 1973, of a heart attack while walking down a street in New York City on his way to meet his fiancée, actress Karen Kondazian The funeral was in New York He was cremated and the ashes were taken by Tita Cervera, his last wife, to Spain


Year Title Role Notes
1945 Doll Face Jack, Coast Guardsman Uncredited
1946 Do You Love Me Party Guest Uncredited
1946 Two Guys from Milwaukee Fred, the Usher Uncredited
1946 Cloak and Dagger Man Rescued at End Uncredited
1947 Farmer's Daughter, TheThe Farmer's Daughter Olaf Holstrom
1947 Crossfire Harry
1947 Under the Tonto Rim Joe, Deputy in Tonto
1947 Unconquered Royal American Officer Uncredited
1947 Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome Ambulance Driver Uncredited
1948 Berlin Express Soldier Uncredited
1948 Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House Carpenter Foreman
1948 Velvet Touch, TheThe Velvet Touch Paul Banton
1948 Return of the Badmen Emmett Dalton
1949 Tarzan's Magic Fountain Tarzan
1950 Tarzan and the Slave Girl Tarzan
1951 Tarzan's Peril Tarzan
1952 Tarzan's Savage Fury Tarzan
1952 Battles of Chief Pontiac Lt Kent McIntire
1953 Tarzan and the She-Devil Tarzan
1953 Thunder Over the Plains Captain Bill Hodges
1954 Mystery of The Black Jungle, TheThe Mystery of The Black Jungle Tremal Naik Original Italian title: I misteri della giungla nera
1954 Black Devils of Kali Tramal Naik Original Italian title: La vendetta dei Tughs
1954 The Yellow Mountain Andy Martin
1955 Man from Bitter Ridge, TheThe Man from Bitter Ridge Jeff Carr
1955 Duel on the Mississippi André Tulane
1956 The Price of Fear Dave Barrett
1956 Away All Boats Commander Quigley
1957 War Drums Mangas Coloradas
1957 The Girl in the Kremlin Steve Anderson
1957 Jungle Heat Dr Jim Ransom
1957 The Deerslayer Deerslayer
1957 Girl in Black Stockings, TheThe Girl in Black Stockings David Hewson
1958 Strange Awakening Peter Chance
1958 Captain Falcon Pietro Original Italian title: Capitan Fuoco
1959 Son of the Red Corsair Enrico di Ventimiglia Original Italian title: Il figlio del corsaro rosso
1959 The Pirate and the Slave Girl Dragon Drakut Original Italian title: La scimitarra del Saraceno
1959 Mission in Morocco Bruce Reynolds
1960 Terror of the Red Mask Marco Original Italian title: Terrore della maschera rossa
1960 La Dolce Vita Robert Italian film
1960 Knight of 100 Faces Riccardo D'Arce Original Italian title: Il cavaliere dai cento volti
1960 Pirates of the Coast Captain Luis Monterey Original Italian title: I pirati della costa
1960 Robin Hood and the Pirates Robin Hood Original Italian title: Robin Hood e i pirati
1961 The Secret of the Black Falcon Captain Don Carlos de Herrera Original Italian title: Il segreto dello sparviero nero
1961 El secreto de los hombres azules Fred Spanish/French film
1961 The Return of Dr Mabuse FBI-Agent Joe Como Original German title: Im Stahlnetz des Dr Mabuse
1962 The Invisible Dr Mabuse de FBI-Agent Joe Como Original German title: Die unsichtbaren Krallen des Dr Mabuse
1962 Marco Polo
1962 Dr Sibelius de Dr Georg Sibelius Original German title: Frauenarzt Dr Sibelius
1962 Treasure of the Silver Lake Old Shatterhand Original German title: Der Schatz im Silbersee
1963 Breakfast in Bed Victor H Armstrong Original German title: Frühstück im Doppelbett
1963 Storm Over Ceylon de Larry Stone Original Italian title: Tempesta su Ceylon
1963 The Executioner of Venice Sandrigo Bembo Original Italian title: Il boia di Venezia
1963 Kali Yug: Goddess of Vengeance Major Ford Original Italian title: Kali Yug, la dea della vendetta
1963 Il mistero del tempio indiano Major Ford Italian film
1963 Apache Gold Old Shatterhand Original German title: Winnetou I
1964 Apaches' Last Battle Old Shatterhand Original German title: Old Shatterhand
1964 Victim Five Steve Martin UK film, US title: Code 7, Victim 5
1964 Yellow Devil de Kara Ben Nemsi Original German title: Der Schut
1964 Last of the Renegades Old Shatterhand Original German title: Winnetou II
1965 Treasure of the Aztecs, TheThe Treasure of the Aztecs Dr Karl Sternau Original German title: Der Schatz der Azteken
1965 Pyramid of the Sun God Dr Karl Sternau Original German title: Die Pyramide des Sonnengottes
1965 Twenty-Four Hours to Kill Captain Jamie Faulkner UK film
1965 A Place Called Glory de Clint Brenner Original German title: Die Hölle von Manitoba
1965 The Wild Men of Kurdistan de Kara Ben Nemsi Original German title: Durchs wilde Kurdistan
1965 Desperado Trail, TheThe Desperado Trail Old Shatterhand Original German title: Winnetou III
1965 Fury of the Sabers de Kara Ben Nemsi Original German title: Im Reiche des silbernen Löwen
1966 Who Killed Johnny R Sam Dobie Original German title: Wer kennt Johnny R
1966 Killer's Carnival Glenn Cassidy Original French title: Le carnaval des barbouzes, Rio segment
1966 Half-Breed de Old Shatterhand Original German title: Winnetou und das Halbblut Apanatschi
1967 Woman Times Seven Rik segment "Super Simone"
1967 Spy Today, Die Tomorrow Bob Urban Original German title: Mister Dynamit – Morgen küßt Euch der Tod
1967 The Blood Demon Roger Mont Elise Original German title: Die Schlangengrube und das Pendel
Also released as: The Torture Chamber of Dr Sadism
1968 Winnetou and Shatterhand in the Valley of Death de Old Shatterhand Original German title: Winnetou und Shatterhand im Tal der Toten
1970 Aoom Ristol Spanish film
1970 Wenn du bei mir bist Kapitän Hannes Schneider German film


  • "Ich bin morgen auf dem Weg zu dir" / "Mädchen in Samt und Seide" 1965, Single, Decca D 19 725
  • Winnetou du warst mein Freund 1996, CD, Bear Family Records

See alsoedit

  • Johnny Weissmuller
  • Tarzan
  • Jock Mahoney
  • Denny Miller
  • Buster Crabbe
  • Mike Henry football


  1. ^ Obituary Variety, May 16, 1973
  2. ^ Reiner Boller, Christina Böhme 2003 Lex Barker – Die Biografie Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf Verlag, Germany ISBN 3-89602-444-2 
  3. ^ "Miss Beals's Wedding", The New York Times, April 20, 1913
  4. ^ The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Internet Broadway Database
  5. ^ Leaming, Barbara Orson Welles: A Biography, pp 188–201
  6. ^ Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938–1946 Archival Database; World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64
  7. ^ a b "Mrs Barker's Nuptials", The New York Times, September 12, 1952


  • Manfred Christ: Von Tarzan bis Old Shatterhand – Lex Barker und seine Filme, Günter Albert Ulmer Verlag, Tuningen, Germany, 1994; ISBN 3-924191-81-6

External linksedit

  • Lex Barker on Internet Movie Database
  • Lex Barker at AllMovie
  • Official site in English and German
  • Lex Barker – Biography on reSearch my Trash
  • Fanpage in German
  • Lex Barker at Brian's Drive-In Theater
  • Tribute to Lex Barker Gallery
  • Lex Barker at Find a Grave

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