Despite the fact that he had been Hollywood's tenth TARZAN, to a whole generation of kids in the German-speaking world Lex Barker will forever be identified with pulp fiction writer Karl May’s Fennimore Cooper-inspired "Old Shatterhand" "westerns" filmed in such out-of-the-way places as Germany's Black Forest and Yugoslavia. From a New England family with a proud lineage, the handsome, blond Barker entered films in 1945 after some off-Broadway work and a tour of duty in World War II. He took over the Tarzan mantle from Johnny Weissmuller in 1948 but was rather more known for a hectic private life that included brief marriages to MGM stars Arlene Dahl and Lana Turner. In her book "Detour," Turner's daughter Cheryl Crane accuses an alcoholic Barker of molesting her, but other accounts dismiss Crane's claims and instead describe him as an "extremely gentle, noble and openhearted man to the people close to him." When Hollywood offers became scarce, Barker merely rolled with the punches and reclaimed his stardom in Germany where, in 1966, he was awarded a Bambi Award as the nation's "most popular foreign actor." Yet, even the long-lasting love affair with "Old Shatterhand" eventually ended and Barker's career finally waned. Separated from his fifth wife, Tia, he was making a living as a tennis instructor when he suffered a fatal heart attack while out strolling on Manhattan's Upper East Side on May 11, 1974. He was 54. When told of his death, former wife Lana Turner is reported to have quipped, “What took him so long?”
AOOM (Spain, 1970) D: Gonzalo Suárez. CAST. Lex Barker (Ristol), Teresa Gimpera, Luis Ciges, Romy, Julián Ugarte, Bill Dyckes, Gila Hodgkinson. Barker stars as a dead actor whose soul enters the body of a strangled woman. Director Suárez was a well-known sportswriter and Aoom marked the second and last in his proposed series of 10 "Iron Films."