Thursday, May 8, 2014

Lex Barker, 1919-1973

Today marks the birth anniversary of actor Lex Barker, who was born on this day in 1919. Barker might be best known for playing Tarzan in several movies in the early 1950s, but Barker was more of an actor than that. After serving in World War II, Barker had small roles in several movies in the second half of the late 1940s, such as one of Loretta Young's brothers in The Farmer's Daughter, or as a construction foreman in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. If memory serves, he's the character who asks Cary Grant whether he wants the lentils in the lally columns rabbeted.

One of Barker's more entertaining non-Tarzan starring roles comes in the late 150s movie The Girl in Black Stockings, but by this time Hollywood stardom wasn't beckoning. So Barker left for Europe, since he apparently spoke several languages well enough to act in films in a second language. The role of Anita Ekberg's fiancé in La Dolce Vita would probably be the highest-quality movie out of all his European stuff, but he gained a following in Germany for playing Old Shatterhand, a character from a series of late 19th century German juvenile western books, albeit from an author who had been nowhere near the US West at the time he wrote the books.

No comments: