15 Hunky Actors Who've Played Tarzan Throughout the Years

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ELMO LINCOLN

ELMO LINCOLN
Hulton Archive/Getty

Lincoln was the very first actor to take on the feral character, who was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs and first appeared in the writer's 1912 publication Tarzan of the Apes. The jungle man made his screen debut in the 1918 silent film of the same name. Lincoln reprised the role for The Romance of Tarzan (1918) and The Adventures of Tarzan (1921).

02 of 15

FRANK MERRILL

FRANK MERRILL
Getty

After performing stunts for Elmo Lincoln in The Adventures of Tarzan, Merrill nabbed the starring role in 1928's Tarzan the Mighty. The actor, who was also an award-winning gymnast and a police officer, went on to lead the cast of 1929's Tarzan the Tiger.

03 of 15

JOHNNY WEISSMULLER

JOHNNY WEISSMULLER
Silver Screen Collection/Getty

Like Frank Merrill, Weissmuller had an athletic background that helped him prepare to play the brawny character. The five-time Olympic gold-medalist swimmer played Tarzan in a whopping 12 films, beginning with the 1932 smash hit Tarzan the Ape Man.

04 of 15

HERMAN BRIX

HERMAN BRIX
Hulton Archive/Getty

Brix, who later changed his name to Bruce Bennett, was actually cast before Weissmuller to play Tarzan in 1932, but broke his shoulder before filming began. The actor finally got his chance to don the loincloth for The New Adventures of Tarzan in 1935. Released by Burroughs-Tarzan Enterprises, Inc., the film was more faithful to the book than previous adaptations.

05 of 15

LEX BARKER

LEX BARKER
Getty

The statuesque actor starred in the 1949 film Tarzan's Magic Fountain and four other subsequent films about the jungle dweller.

06 of 15

GORDON SCOTT

GORDON SCOTT
Hulton Archive/Getty

Scott got his big break as Tarzan after being spotted by a talent agent while working as a hotel lifeguard in Las Vegas. He held the role in Tarzan's Hidden Jungle (1955) and five other Tarzan films.

07 of 15

JOCK MAHONEY

JOCK MAHONEY
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty

The former Marine lost out to Lex Barker when he first auditioned to play Tarzan, but nabbed the role in 1962 for Tarzan Goes to India and in 1963 for Tarzan's Three Challenges. He also played a villain in the Gordon Scott-starring Tarzan the Magnificent (1960).

08 of 15

MIKE HENRY

MIKE HENRY
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Henry was a linebacker for the Steelers and the Rams before starring in three Tarzan movies throughout the 1960s, including Tarzan and the Valley of Gold. He was later seen in Smokey and the Bandit, The Longest Yard and Soylent Green.

09 of 15

RON ELY

RON ELY
Silver Screen Collection/Getty

Ely took over when Tarzan moved to the small screen for a 1966 NBC series. Because he did his own stunts, the star sustained a number of injuries including lion bites and broken bones.

10 of 15

MILES O'KEEFE

MILES O'KEEFE
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty

The handsome actor only played Tarzan once. He starred opposite Bo Derek in the 1981 film Tarzan, the Ape Man, which was directed by his costar's then-husband John Derek.

11 of 15

CHRISTOPHER LAMBERT

CHRISTOPHER LAMBERT
Warner Bros./Getty

The French actor starred in 1984's Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes opposite Andie MacDowell as Jane.

12 of 15

WOLF LARSON

WOLF LARSON
Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

From 1991 to 1994, Larson starred in the French-Canadian-Mexican series Tarzén.

13 of 15

TRAVIS FIMMEL

TRAVIS FIMMEL
Everett

The former model made for a gorgeous Tarzan in a 2003 series on the WB, but the short-lived show was canceled after eight episodes. The Australian actor can now be seen on History's Vikings.

14 of 15

TONY GOLDWYN

TONY GOLDWYN
Jonathan Leibson/Getty

He never appeared on-screen, but Goldwyn gets credit for voicing Tarzan in the 1999 animated Disney film. The feature was well-received by critics, enjoyed a successful run at the box office and was the first Tarzan movie to win an Academy Award when it nabbed Best Original Song for "You'll Be in My Heart."

15 of 15

ALEXANDER SKARSGARD

ALEXANDER SKARSGARD
Jonathan Olley

The Legend of Tarzan hits theaters July 1 with the swoon-worthy Swede in the starring role. Skarsgard revealed that his father, actor Stellan Skarsgard, is a superfan of the jungle king during a Twitter QampA. "When I got the job, he was more excited than I was. My father is a huge Tarzan fan since he was a little kid," the actor said. "That's how I fell in love with Tarzan. He would show me the old Johnny Weissmuller movies: We would watch those together, and I thought it was like the coolest character, loved the jungle and all the animals. I thought he was such a badass."

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