Joe Lara: life and movie highlights of Tarzan actor as he and wife Gwen Shamblin die in a plane crash

The actor was best known for his role as the iconic character Tarzan

Actor Joe Lara has died in a private plane crash at the age of 58.

Best known for his role in Tarzan: The Epic Adventures, Lara died alongside his wife, Gwen Shamblin Lara, and five other people.

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Actor Joe Lara has died in a private plane crash at the age of 58 (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The private jet, a Cessna Citation 501, crashed into Percy Priest Lake east of Nashville at around 11am, shortly after departing Smyrna Airport for Palm Beach, Florida. The National Transportation Safety Board began the investigation.

During a press conference, Rutherford County Fire Rescue Capt. Joshua Sanders said: ‘We are no longer… looking for live victims at this point.’

In a statement, the other victims were identified as Jennifer J. Martin, David L. Martin, Jessica Walters, Jonathan Walters and Brandon Hannah, all from Brentwood, Tennessee.

Who was Joe Lara?

Born in San Diego, California, Joe Lara grew up in New Port Beach, California, eventually moving to Los Angeles.

Before taking on his first acting role, Lara worked as a professional print and runway model in Paris, Geneva and Milan at the age of 19. He was also a keen surfer, and voted as most valuable player in high school as Wide receiver.

He made his professional acting debut by playing an American soldier in ‘Night Wars’, released in 1988. He proceeded to act in further action movies, including ‘Warhead’, ‘Operation Delta Force’, and ‘Gunsmoke: The Last Apache’.

His big break came in 1989, in the television movie ‘Tarzan in Manhattan’. The actor would go on to play Taran several times in the TV film ‘Tarzan: The Epic Adventures’ in 1996, and in his most notable work, the TV series under the same name between 1996 and 2000.

His leading role covered 22 episodes which followed on from the TV movie Tarzan in Manhattan.

In 2000, he played Pace McCormick in the TV series “The Magnificent Seven” and starred in the films “Very Mean Men” and “Doomsdayer.” In 2001, he starred in the films “Dead Man’s Run” and “Death Game.”

Lara also produced and released his first album titled ‘Joe Lara: The Cry of Freedom’.

His most recent role was as a soap opera actor in ‘Summer of 67’ in 2018.

The actor was also a martial artist, fully certified pilot, and licensed falconer.

Who was Gwen Shamblin Lara?

Joe Lara married Gwen Shamblin on 18 August 2018.

Shamblin Lara was a Christian diet guru who founded the Remnant Fellowship Church in 1999. She would go on to use Bible studies to help people lose weight and quit drinking.

The Remnant Fellowship Church, in a statement to CNN, said that the “seven Remnant Fellowship leaders lost 29 May 2021, were some of the finest and most loving people that you would ever come across. During this horrible tragedy, our church would greatly appreciate prayers”.

The couple are survived by two adult children from Shamblin Lara’s first marriage; Michael Shamblin and Elzabeth Hannah.