The running theme with Tarzan actors is that they started out as ace sportsmen, and occasionally soldiers, and the same is not different for the first Tarzan of the 1980s. Miles was a star football athlete who attended the United States Air Force Academy and played halfback on the freshman football team in 1972, when he was 18. After a transfer to Mississippi, he bulked up to 240lb (110kg). Miles later became a physical fitness instructor in the Tennessee penal system before getting cast as Tarzan.
Miles, aged 51, as Ed Janzer in 2005's
The Unknown (aka Clawed)
The film was universally panned and received six nominations at the Golden Raspberry Awards (including one for Worst Actor for Miles, and another for Worst Actress for Bo Derek, which she won). Despite this, the film was a box office hit, costing $6.5m to make, and taking back $36.6m.
Miles, aged 56, in his most recent role
as Wild Bill in King of the Road (2010)
However, Miles has not acted in a film at all since 2005's The Unknown (aka Clawed), a very low budget slasher-flick which also throws in the Bigfoot legend for good measure. Since then, Miles's only screen appearance has been in the 21-minute short film King of the Road (2010) in which he plays old school biker Wild Bill, who tries to win back his favourite bar, the last vestige of his faded glory.
Christopher Lambert (born Christophe Guy Denis Lambert)
Most people know that Christopher Lambert is an anglicised version of his very Gallic real name, Christophe Lamb-bare, but he was actually born in the USA, not France or French Canada as many might suspect (he was raised in Switzerland, however). He'd been acting in various French language productions since 1980, but landing the role of Tarzan was his first major English language gig.
Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes was released in March 1984 when Lambert was 27, after being filmed in far-flung places such as Scotland and Cameroon. Made with a $30m budget, it earned $45.9m at the box office and was nominated for three Oscars. Perhaps it was the Scottish location filming that foretold the next project that Lambert became internationally famous for, playing Connor MacLeod in the 1986 film Highlander.
|Christopher Lambert today|
Now aged 59, Christopher is extremely myopic and has great difficulty seeing without his glasses - something that gets him into trouble when acting without spectacles!
Hemant played the Lord of the Apes in the Hindi-language Adventures of Tarzan, released in December 1985, and was quite the talking point at the time as it was not approved by the Burroughes estate, and also included some pretty racy scenes between Tarzan and Ruby (played by Kimi Katkar) and a 1980s disco soundtrack by Bappi Lahiri.
|Hemant Birje in his 40s|
After Tarzan, Hemant's acting career took off, and he's been acting pretty solidly ever since in Bollywood films. His most recent role was aged 46 in 2011's Who's There?, but he has not appeared on screen since.
|Hemant in 2013, aged 48|
On October 30th, 2012, it seemed the roles were reversed when it was reported that Hemant was beaten up by two of his own friends in Andheri. The altercation was put down to alcohol. Hemant claimed he was attacked and hit on the head with bamboo sticks because he said he could not attend the wedding of his friend's niece. However, his "friends" Kishore Saproo and Phasi Rehman (who were arrested following the incident) said it was Hemant who punched them while demanding more alcohol! Hemant was hospitalised for treatment, and released soon after.
In April 2016, it was reported that Hemant had been thrown out of the Oshiwara house he had been illegally living in. His contract with the Castle Towers owner had expired, but he continued to live there despite being asked to leave. The owner filed a lawsuit against him and the police got involved to evict him.
Joe Lara (born William Joseph Lara)
After debuting as a soldier in 1988's Night Wars, Joe got his big break as Tarzan in a CBS TV movie broadcast on April 15th, 1989, when he was 26. The movie sees Tarzan leave Africa and make for New York City to seek vengeance for the murder of his ape mother, and to rescue Cheeta, who was taken by hunters. The project co-starred Jan-Michael Vincent, Tony Curtis and Kim Crosby.
This one-off movie is unrelated to the subsequent TV series in which Joe played Tarzan, however. Tarzan: The Epic Adventures ran for one 22-episode season between August 1996 and May 1997, and took on the more fantastical theme which had worked well for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. It saw Tarzan back in Africa fighting magical sorcerers and creatures alongside his old friend Timba, played by Aaron Seville.
|Joe in more recent times|
Beyond Tarzan, 6ft 3in Joe has made appearances in TV shows including Sweating Bullets (1993), Baywatch (1993), Conan (1998) and The Magnificent Seven (2000), and films such as Sunset Heat (1992), American Cyborg: Steel Warrior (1993), Warhead (1996), Doomsdayer (2000) and most recently the straight-to-video Starfire Mutiny (2002).
To read the previous chapter about the silent era Tarzans, click here, and the previous chapter about the Tarzans 1932-48, click here. The previous chapter about Tarzans 1949-60 is here, and 1962-72 is here. The next and final chapter will be about more modern versions of Tarzan through to the present day, and will appear on this blog shortly.