Former ‘Tarzan’ Star Joe Lara Is Dead At 58 After A Plane Crash

Joe Lara, who played Tarzan on TV in the 1990s, died in a plane crash in Tennessee over the weekend. Lara’s wife, Gwen Shamblin Lara, was the leader of a controversial church whose private plane went down in Percy Priest Lake east of Nashville on Saturday with him on board. By Sunday, the search and rescue mission was deemed one of recovery, and TMZ reported Sunday that seven bodies had been recovered amid a long stretch of debris.

Lara played Tarzan in the CBS movie Tarzan in Manhattan in 1989 and reprised the role in 1996 for Tarzan: The Epic Adventures, though he had not acted much since the early 2000s according to IMDB. His last credit was for a soap opera role in 2018’s Summer of ’67.

The Tennessean reported on Sunday about the crash, which killed both Joe and Gwen along with several members of his wife’s church. Sadly, no one on the plane was officially registered to fly it with the FAA, though Lara and another passenger had prior flight experience.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration website, no one on that flight was qualified to fly the plane. Joe Lara, 58, had a pilot’s license, but had not updated his medical certification since 2017. The medical certification is required every two years.

A recording of the communication between the control tower and the pilot, captured on, revealed an alarm going off in the cockpit of the plane seconds before it crashed, suggesting a mechanical failure in the aircraft, which was built in 1982.

The news story about the crash focused more on Shamblin and her controversial weight-based teachings, which led to a number of public issues over the years. It’s unclear just yet what caused the crash, or who was flying the plane, at this time.

[via The Tennessean]